Turkey issues rallying cry for flood-hit Pakistan
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 8/18/2010 12:00:00 AM |
Turkish state and civilian aid organizations as well as business circles have rolled up their sleeves and launched a large-scale relief effort for flood-ravaged Pakistan.
Turkish state and civilian aid organizations as well as business circles have issued a rallying cry and launched a large-scale relief effort for flood-ravaged Pakistan.
“A large-scale campaign will be launched next week and we will contribute to the reconstruction of Pakistan with the donated money,” Tekin Küçükali, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, told daily Hürriyet on Wednesday. Turkey has pledged $10 million in cash and humanitarian aid worth $1 million to Pakistan.
Organizers expect the call to aid to be effective because the two countries enjoy a unique relationship. A team from the Red Crescent is already in Pakistan to help distribute aid to Pakistani people and to report back to Ankara on the country’s immediate needs. In addition, the Prime Ministry is also already involved in coordinating help for Pakistan.
“The two countries’ people love each other unconditionally. That’s why the Turkish people wholeheartedly participate in ongoing aid campaigns for Pakistan,” Küçükali said. A fourth plane full of humanitarian aid was sent to Pakistan on Tuesday, he said, adding that they were calling on municipalities and trade chambers to actively contribute to the campaigns. “We are planning to send 2,000 prefabricated houses to Pakistan next week. They can be used for 10 years.”
Torrential rain triggered the catastrophic floods that have affected 20 million people in three weeks, wiping out villages, farmland and infrastructure and killing at least 1,500 people in Pakistan’s worst natural disaster. The United Nations last week launched an immediate appeal for $460 million, but said Tuesday that funding so far was just 40 percent of the target. Aid agencies are now calling for pledges to be turned into cash.
Education Minister Nimet Çubukcu, speaking to journalists Tuesday, said a campaign could be launched in schools when they open in September. “It’s impossible to remain indifferent to the disaster in Pakistan. We’ll do whatever necessary as a ministry,” she said during a meeting with Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey, Tariq Azizuddin. The ambassador recalled that $15 million was collected through a school campaign in 2005 after Pakistan was hit by a large earthquake.
[HH] Businessmen active for Pakistan
Apart from the state and its organizations, a number of Turkish businessmen have also initiated aid campaigns for Pakistan. “The disaster in Pakistan has saddened me a lot,” Fettah Tamince, a prominent businessman and owner of Rixos Hotels, told daily Hürriyet on Wednesday. “We have started to prepare a plane that will carry food, medicine and generators. It will depart for Pakistan in the coming days.”
Tamince said he has also called about two dozen other businessmen to coordinate aid for Pakistan. “We can increase our humanitarian assistance to this country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rızanur Meral, president of the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey, or TUSKON, said around 3,000 members of the confederation have already pledged aid to Pakistan. “From the very first day [of the disaster], we have guided our members to the region [where the disaster hit]. It’s very important that the amount of donations increases. Pakistan is a very important country.”
Cihad Vardar, head of the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association, or MÜSİAD, said they were helping Pakistan through their representation in the South Asian country. “Our growing trade relations with Pakistan push us to extend more aid.”