Relief pours in for Turkey, Syria

- February 16, 2023
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

Good Samaritans drop in at the Turkish and Syrian embassies to chip in with relief items

HELPING HAND: Relief materials outside the Turkish embassy in Chanakyapuri

Even as the Indian government has sent relief material, medical and rescue teams to aid search in earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria, good Samaritans in the Capital and other neighbouring cities are taking lead in offering help.

The Turkish and Syrian embassies are being frequented by people bringing clothes, blankets, food and tents among other things in their personal vehicles or taxis.

Mohammad Wamiq and his friends have collected funds for relief in his hometown, Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

“I have come here [from Agra] to donate blankets to the earthquake-affected people of Turkey. We should help them in these tough times. We must stand with each other in these difficult times. These hard times can befall us too,” he told Patriot.

“My friends and I run ‘Serve Humanity Foundation’, a society in Agra, for humanitarian work. We are not millionaires and belong to a middle-class family. Each one of us contributed Rs 1,000 and purchased woollen clothes, blankets and food items,” he said as he waited for his turn in the queue.

Since the Turkish embassy in Chanakyapuri is accepting only blankets, tents and heaters, the food items are being diverted to the Syrian embassy in Vasant Vihar.

Wamiq contacted the Syrian embassy and visited it a day later to donate food items that were not accepted by the Turkish embassy.

Sister Annarita, a 78-year-old from ‘Holycross Convent Society’ in Karol Bagh, also reached the embassy with three taxis full of essential items. Two more taxis were expected soon.

SISTERS TO RESCUE: Annarita and Joy outside Turkish embassy

“Society of the Sister of the Cross (a part of the Holycross Convent Society), Delhi, has collected 562 blankets for the relief of the affected people of Turkey and Syria. A large number of people have died and are affected there. And it is very cold there too. So, I think we should help those people,” said Annarita, who was accompanied by Sister Joy.

“We feel for them because they are our brothers and sisters and are suffering now. We are one big family, created by God, so we want to help with what is in our capacity. We are standing with them and praying,” revealed Sister Joy.

Raj Nandan Singh, a retired lieutenant-general, came to the embassy with blankets.

“As a retired general, I can understand the situation very well. I donated over 600 blankets. I think if we are donating, we should donate something better and new, not useless or old items.”

A school bus from Holy Child Senior Secondary School in Tagore Garden reached the embassy with blankets.

On condition of anonymity, a female teacher said that this was the contribution from school staff and children.

The relief material is sent to Turkey almost daily via Turkish airlines, a security guard at the embassy confirmed.

 FINAL CHECK: A relief packet being checked and marked before being accepted

The situation at the Syrian embassy has been very different. Compared to the Turkish embassy, very few donors have gone there. Relief material collected has also been limited, even though the embassy is accepting everything, including food.

“Some people are coming to donate. Due to low quantities, we haven’t sent this relief material as yet. We will send these materials to Syria soon. It will be the first time that it will be transferred,” a volunteer at the Syrian embassy.

A couple of female students from Delhi University’s Jesus and Mary College, who are volunteers with NSS (National Service Scheme), donated packets of food, diapers, blankets, clothes among other items.

“Apart from here, our team went to the Turkish embassy too. It is time to stand for the affected people and humanity. The pictures and videos of the suffering children are disturbing,” said Ananya, one of the two students.

“We have bought hygienic products and clothes, which we have donated. All the students from our college eagerly participated in this relief campaign,” she concluded.

The devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6 have left thousands of people homeless and hopeless. As of February 14, eight days after the earthquake struck, over 30,000 people have died in Turkey, while over 4,500 deaths have been reported from Syria. There is also an Indian national from Uttarakhand among those dead in Turkey.