Saturday, February 11, 2023
A Pakistani in the United States anonymously "donated $30 million to the Turkish embassy" for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria as the natural disaster took the lives of thousands and destroyed scores of homes.
The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc in Turkey and Syria early morning on Monday and has so far claimed over 24,000 lives as hopes of finding more survivors faded.
The news of the donation, reported by Turkish media, was confirmed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took to Twitter and said: "Deeply moved by the example of an anonymous Pakistani who walked into Turkish embassy in the US and donated $30 million for earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria."
"These are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable odds," he added.
In a video shared on Twitter, TRT World journalist Yousuf Erim also appreciated the move and said: "Individuals, a Pakistani businessman walked into the Turkish embassy in the United States and anonymously donated $30 million by himself. We don't know who he is. His identity has not been revealed."
Mustafa Tanyeri — who is the editor-in-chief of The Election Post — said Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Murat Mercan said that a Pakistani businessman alone contributed $30 million to the aid campaign launched in the US.
This was also reported by TRT World's reporter Jaffar Hasnain.
PM Shehbaz on Friday announced that the federal government has allocated Rs10 billion to help Turkey's earthquake relief efforts, saying that Pakistan will continue to assist the calamity-hit country every day.
"I believe that the people of Turkey and Syria will come out of this difficulty," he said, adding that Pakistan assured Turkey of assistance the day when this tragedy took place.
"A Pakistan Army team was sent the day when the earthquake hit Turkey and the dispatching of the relief goods has begun," he continued.
He said that goods weighing 100 tonnes are being sent to Turkey in a truck.
The prime minister urged the people, welfare organisations and businessmen to take part in the fund collection drive. He also requested the chief ministers to help in this regard.
"A committee has been formed to send funds to Turkey. 1,486 tonnes of relief goods are being sent to Turkey and Syria," he added.
The premier said that 13 centres have been established in Pakistan for the collection of funds, adding that donations will also be collected in educational institutions across the country.
Meanwhile, International aid was also trickling into parts of Turkey and Syria on Saturday where rescuers toiled to pull children from rubble in quake-hit areas.
A winter freeze in the affected areas has hurt rescue efforts and compounded the suffering of millions of people, many in desperate need of aid.
At least 870,000 people urgently needed food in the two countries after the quake, which has left up to 5.3 million people homeless in Syria alone, the UN warned.
Aftershocks following Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremor have added to the death toll and further upended the lives of survivors.
The United Nations World Food Programme appealed for $77 million to provide food rations to at least 590,000 newly displaced people in Turkey and 284,000 in Syria.
Of those, 545,000 were internally displaced people and 45,000 were refugees, it said.
— Additional information from AFP