Turkiye’s main ‘Anadolu’ news agency praises Pakistan & its largest charity Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan
Abdus Shakoor says our appeal seeking help for earthquake victims in Türkiye & Syria inside Pak receives positive response
KAHRAMANMARAS ( Web News )
As local and international rescue teams in southern Türkiye continue to race against time with the slogan “don’t lose hope,” families of earthquake survivors rejoice as their loved ones are pulled out of collapsed buildings. Turkiye’s main Anadolu news agency has praised Pakistan and its largest charity Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan.
Two such international search and rescue groups from Pakistan were among those that brought relief to the residents of Adiyaman, one of the 10 provinces jolted by Monday’s powerful tremors.
The devastating earthquakes hit Türkiye early this week, resulting in the death of over 18,300 and leveling of thousands of buildings. Even four days later, relentless rescue efforts have kept hope alive.
The Pakistan Rescue 1122 team of 52 personnel landed in Türkiye on Tuesday, as did two military teams with a total of 33 soldiers along with specially-trained sniffer dogs and search and rescue equipment.
So far, they’ve rescued five survivors from under the debris of residential buildings in Adiyaman.
Pakistan has flown three C130 military transport planes to Adana province, while two Pakistan Airlines flights carrying the search and rescue teams landed in Istanbul.
Another C130 flight is expected to land on Friday carrying medical supplies, tents, and blankets.
The official, who asked to remain unnamed, told Anadolu that Islamabad’s National Disaster Management Authority was coordinating the Pakistani search and rescue operations with Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
After landing in Türkiye, said the official, “all forward deployment of search, rescue, and relief personnel is being done by AFAD on the basis of need assessment of the earthquake-affected regions.”
“Pakistan is also mulling to ship aid for earthquake victims in trucks using the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul route.”
On Wednesday night, Ambassador Yousaf Junaid and Pakistani Embassy staff visited a municipal donation point in the capital Ankara, delivering relief goods for earthquake survivors, including jackets, shoes, food, water, baby food, diapers, and sanitary items.
“I am confident, that with the traditional Turkish spirit of overcoming all obstacles and defeating all challenges, the Turkish nation will emerge out of this catastrophe stronger than ever and you will find the people of Pakistan always standing with you,” Junaid said.
As “all-out” domestic efforts continue by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to extend help to quake-hit Türkiye, a prominent foundation in the South Asian country has reached out to the diaspora to join the post-quake rehabilitation operations.
“Our appeal seeking help for earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria inside Pakistan has received a positive response,” Muhammad Abdus Shakoor, Vice President of the Alkhidmat Foundation, told “Anadolu” on Thursday. He flew to Istanbul soon after the earthquakes hit Türkiye on Monday.
With a dedicated volunteer force of more than 60,000, the foundation won hearts in Pakistan for its efforts to mitigate the devastation caused by unprecedented floods last year in the nation of over 220 million people.
Besides mobilizing its resources within Pakistan, said Shakoor, the Alkhidmat Foundation “has issued an appeal to Pakistanis living abroad, the diaspora, to come forward and help the people of Türkiye and Syria.”
“We have reached out to Pakistanis in the UK, the US, Europe, Australia, and other countries for fund raising to meet the needs of those affected by these earthquakes,” he added.
At least 18,342 people were killed and 74,242 others injured in the twin earthquakes that hit southern parts of Türkiye and were also felt in nearby countries, including Syria and Lebanon.
A total of 6,444 buildings collapsed due to the powerful quakes that occurred in the space of fewer than 10 hours and were felt in nearby countries such as Lebanon and Syria.
Türkiye has declared a three-month state of emergency in the 10 provinces hit by the tremors: Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Kahramanmaras, where the epicenter was located.
Muhammad Abdus Shakoor said the Alkhidmat team in Türkiye also helped trace Pakistani nationals living in the disaster zone.
“We identified some 40 students and 50-60 families,” he said, adding that the foundation had gotten in touch with around 30 students and “have shifted some of them to Adana province and contacted their families back home in Pakistan.”
The foundation, Shakoor said, has flown a 47-member Search and Rescue team from Pakistan to Türkiye to help in the ongoing disaster efforts.
Equipped with the latest search and rescue equipment, the crew was approved by the Türkiye’s AFAD.
Shakoor said specialist orthopedic doctors were among those Alkhidmat registered in Pakistan and from among the country’s diaspora community.
“If and when we get the green signal from Türkiye’s Ministry of Health, they will fly into the country,” he said.
“Right now, the focus is on rescuing people from under the debris.”
The renowned Pakistani social worker said Pakistanis living in Türkiye “are being organized by Alkhidmat for various aspects of search, rescue and relief operations including blood donation, collection of warm clothes and food.”
“We are coordinating with the IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) and other organizations for food distribution, installation of tents, and distribution of beddings,” he said, referring to a major Istanbul-based charity that has operations across the country and overseas.
“We are also working on buying and setting up mobile kitchens,” he said, adding that his team is analyzing the evolving situation in the aftermath of earthquakes “and will decide how to move forward and approve various projects in coming week.”
A total of more than 120,344 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the disaster zone, according to AFAD, with 30,360 people evacuated from areas affected by the quakes and following 243 aftershocks.