FLOOD relief efforts for the stricken people of Pakistan have stepped up a gear in Hampshire.

Hampshire County Council has offered its 53 libraries plus its headquarters in Winchester as a drop-off point for aid boxes.

Mohammed Ansar, chairman of the Hamp-shire Independent Inequality Forum, who is co-ordinating the Daily Echo backed Southampton Flood Relief Campaign, said: “It’s fantastic and a real boost to the campaign.

“I hope the good people of Hampshire are saying that as a community we are aware that this is a humanitarian crisis, something that cuts across boundaries.”

The campaign to get boxes with basic aid to Pakistan, started among Pakistani families in Chandler’s Ford, but has since spread to include communities in Southampton and across the county.

Deputy leader of the council Cllr Roy Perry said: “We’re all aware of the serious problem in Pakistan and we want to demonstrate that the people of Hampshire who are renowned for their generosity can help this initiative.”

Up to 20 million people were affected by the flooding that struck in late July.

The UK Government has committed £64m to help flood victims in Pakistan while the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has so far raised more than £54 million from members of the public.

However, charity Oxfam said almost four million in need of food aid were yet to receive it.

Mr Ansar urged everyone and particularly schools and businesses to get involved in the relief effort.

He said: “So far a lot of the activities have been driven by Muslim communities in Southampton and the Pakistani community based around Southampton.

“But it’s not a Muslim crisis or Pakistan crisis, it’s a humanitarian crisis.

“It’s not about one culture, race or religion.

“This is something across the world that people should be paying attention to.

“Just because it’s not on television it doesn’t mean people aren’t starving or dying.”

The aid boxes should measure no larger than 12in by 12in by 15in, be taped closed and labelled Flood Relief or PIA Flood Relief.

They should contain two bottles of water at 1.5 Litres, two six packs of juices at 250 ml, three high energy packets of biscuits, a 1 litre carton of long life milk, two packets of dates, two soap bars, one pack of paper or plastic cups, chocolates, a single bed sheet and female sanitary products.

n Boxes can also be dropped off at the Medina Mosque, off St Mary’s Road. For more information email aidpacks@gmail.com.