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Qatar Red Crescent ready for reconstruction of earthquake areas in Turkiye

February 23, 2023 at 1:57 pm

A view of collapsed buildings after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit multiple provinces of Turkiye and Syria [Bekir Kasım]

Mohamed Salah, a senior official of the Qatar Red Crescent, said they are seeking funding to initiate reconstruction activity in the earthquake-hit zone of Turkiye and Syria, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In an interview with Anadolu, Salah stressed the need for concerted efforts by the international community to mitigate the effects of the earthquake that occurred in Turkiye and northern Syria.

He said: “We will strive with all our partners to have a real contribution to reduce the scale of the disaster.”

The Qatar Red Crescent official said “it communicated directly with the Turkish Red Crescent and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) to coordinate aid work.”

The Qatar Red Crescent also allocated $1 million from the Disaster Response Fund for urgent relief to those affected by the earthquakes in the two countries.

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Salah added: “We will, in cooperation with our Turkish counterpart, provide a number of mobile kitchens to cover the need in earthquake cities in Turkiye.”

He pointed out that the priority is the basic needs of those affected by the earthquake, namely “the provision of food and personal hygiene tools”.

“The move was swift through the air bridge directed by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, which transported many relief materials to Turkiye, along with a field hospital, medical supplies and 12 cars on board four planes,” he added.

Tragic humanitarian situation

The Qatar Red Crescent official said that the situation they faced in Turkiye and Syria after the earthquake “was very difficult and indescribable”, adding that “the tragedy is great, and witnessing the disaster on the ground is nothing like hearing about it.”

“Everyone must move quickly to provide assistance because the crisis is huge and needs everyone to come together, and delay may result in more crises,” Salah added.

Despite the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe, the Qatar Red Crescent official said: “The international solidarity with Turkiye was great and remarkable, especially with its prestige and global presence, which required everyone to come forward to provide aid.”

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Northern Syria

Regarding the Society’s contribution in northern Syria, the Qatar Red Crescent official said: “On the second day of the earthquake, we distributed urgent food aid to the affected people displaced in Syria and, in cooperation with the Turkish Crescent, we started distributing food baskets to a number of shelter camps.”

The official explained that they first initiated “the establishment of camps and the adoption of a special budget for this matter.”

“In cooperation with the Qatar Fund for Development, we initially established 500 tents in Syria. A shelter centre for the Qatari Crescent will be established in partnership with its Kuwaiti and Turkish counterparts,” he added.

Salah noted that the QRCS “approved the construction of 300 housing units in Syria as a first stage to house the families affected by the earthquake.”

“The Qatari teams that were sent to Syria were the first field medical teams to arrive in the area to direct relief to the victims of the earthquake,” he added.

Salah said that the humanitarian situation after the earthquake in northern Syria “was tragic. The intervention, whether from the UN or humanitarian organisations, was not as required.”

He said: “the number of organisations working in the field was very small compared to the scale of the disaster and the great need.”

He stressed that the situation in Syria “was more difficult due to the lack of expertise and the difficulty of the timely arrival of rescue teams.”

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