Pakistan has requested Türkiye to facilitate the transportation of relief consignment through the Türkiye-Syria border
KARACHI, Sindh Pakistan
Several Pakistani charities scrambled to collect funds and relief goods for the victims of Monday’s massive earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria that killed thousands of people.
Al-Khidmat Foundation, one of the country’s largest relief and rescue organizations, has set up a special fund for the earthquake victims, calling upon Pakistanis to donate “generously.”
At least 8,574 people were killed and 49,133 others injured after two strong earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, the country’s disaster agency said on Wednesday.
Besides, at least 2,530 people were killed and hundreds injured in Syria in the series of powerful earthquakes centered in southern Türkiye that jolted the wider region, according to figures compiled on Wednesday.
“The government and the people of Türkiye have always helped us (Pakistanis) in every trying time, particularly in the recent massive floods,” Dr. Hafeez-ur-Rehman, president of Al-Khidmat Foundation, told Anadolu.
He was referring to the massive floods that inundated a third of the South Asian country in September last, apart from killing over 1,700 people and washing away hundreds of thousands of houses, buildings, hospitals, schools, animals, and other infrastructures.
Several Turkish charities, primarily the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, and Turkish Red Crescent have been carrying out a number of relief projects in the flood-hit areas from the very first day.
Al-Khidmat Foundation, which partnered with TIKA, Turkish Red Crescent, and AFAD to carry out several projects in the flood-hit areas, has already sent its first batch of volunteers along with relief goods to the quake-stricken areas in Türkiye.
The volunteers, according to Rehman, are working in coordination with Hyrat Foundation, a Turkish non-governmental organization, in different earthquake-stricken areas.
“We are in close coordination with TIKA, which requires trained relief and rescue workers. Al-Khidmat is selecting its contingent of trained volunteers to help TIKA in the quake-hit areas,” he maintained.
The foundation has designated all its offices for the collection of relief goods and funds for the quake victims.
The relief goods consignments will be sent to Türkiye with the help of the Turkish Embassy, Turkish Airlines, and Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Rehman went on to say.
A medical team, he added, along with medical supplies is set to depart for Türkiye in a day or two.
‘Time to pay back’
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already set up a relief fund for the earthquake victims.
Islamabad has also sent the first batch of relief items, which included tents, medicines, blankets, and other goods, along with a 50-member rescue team to the earthquake-hit areas through two aircraft.
In a separate appeal, Siraj-ul-Haq, a former senator and chief of Jamat-e-Islami, the country’s mainstream religious party, called upon Pakistanis to “donate for their Turkish brethren.”
“Turkish people have stood alongside us in every thick and thin. it’s now our turn to pay them back in the same coin,” Haq, who is also the patron-in-chief of the Al-Khidmat Foundation, said.
Baitussalam Welfare Trust (BWT), another Pakistani charity, has launched an appeal for the collection of funds and relief items for the earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria.
The BWT is the operational partner of AFAD and TIKA in several relief projects across Pakistan.
It also ran three temporary shelter camps set up by AFAD to accommodate thousands of flood victims in southern Sindh province, the hardest-hit region by the super floods.
Huzaifa Rafia, the chief coordinator of BWT, told Anadolu the charity, which has already been operating in Türkiye in collaboration with Turkish organizations, has sent 30 ambulances and rescue teams to the affected areas.
A mobile health unit that the charity had bought for Pakistan from Türkiye, has also been moved to the earthquake-hit areas, he added.
Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Mehmet Paçacı and NDMA Chairman Lt. Gen. Inam Haider Malik on Wednesday discussed the modalities for jointly working on the collection of aid that people and various organizations within Pakistan desire to send off to quake-hit Türkiye.
While acknowledging the prompt response of Pakistan, Paçacı suggested the NDMA designate its warehouses as collection points for relief goods, said a statement from the NDMA.
“People are desperate to help, and we need the NDMA assistance to manage it,” he said.
The ambassador also informed the NDMA chairman about immediate requirements, which include search and rescue teams, medical equipment, dry ration, winterized beddings, etc.
“To smoothly manage the donation collection process, the NDMA and Turkish Embassy will work in collaboration for further sending the packaged cargo by air and roads,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Pakistan requested Türkiye to facilitate the transportation of relief consignment through the Türkiye-Syria border to which the ambassador responded affirmatively.
Aamir Latif is a senior journalist based in Karachi. He represents Turkish news agency Anadolu.
Courtesy: Anadolu Agency (Published on Feb 9, 2023)