A Pakistani businessman from the US walked into the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Saturday and arranged to donate $30 million to victims of the earthquake that devastated the country only a few days before.
NATO officials have describe the quake as “the deadliest natural disaster on alliance territory since the foundation of NATO.”
“Deeply moved by the example of an anonymous Pakistani who walked into Turkish embassy in the US & donated $30 million for earthquake victims in Türkiye & Syria. These are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable odds,” tweeted Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan.
The donation was confirmed by Murat Mercan, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington. It has been added to the earthquake aid campaign launched in the United States.
So far, the death toll of the deadly 7.8 magnitude quake has climbed above 34,000, and rescue efforts have become body recovery efforts. More than 100,000 people are injured enough to require hospitalization, and over 750,000 people are displaced by earthquake damage in Turkey and Syria. To help them, the United Nations is appealing for $1 billion to be sent from member states to help fund aid agencies in Turkey.
While the heaviest damage and death toll is in Turkey, Syria is suffering heavily as well, and getting aid into the affected regions is complicated. They’re currently held by a rebel government, and only one border crossing with Turkey is open for UN aid. The death toll there is considered to be seriously under-reported, and experts are expecting outbreaks of disease in relocation settlements.
“We have so far failed the people in north-west Syria,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths tweeted Saturday from that country’s border with Turkey.
Turkey and Syria both have to hope that more donations like that from the anonymous Pakistani, as well as aid from NATO and the UN, will be coming. The recovery from this catastrophe will take years. One need only look at Haiti to see what may happen if rebuilding can’t happen.
Photo: H. Cem KUCUK / Shutterstock