Turkey-Syria earthquake: Dubai residents work round the clock to collect, deliver donations to survivors

A two-day campaign saw thousands of citizens of various nationalities making their way with donations to a warehouse in Al Quoz, where the relief materials are being packed

Photos: SM Ayaz Zakir
Photos: SM Ayaz Zakir

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Wed 8 Feb 2023, 3:05 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Feb 2023, 3:35 PM

Hundreds of residents, volunteers, and Turkey consuls are working round the clock accepting donations, listing, packaging, and arranging the logistics to move the items from Dubai to Turkey.

Donations like blankets, food items, clothing, items for children, medicines, and many more relief materials are being packed at a warehouse in Al Qouz. A few organisations like the Turkey Consulate, Emirates Red Crescent Society, the Turkish Business council, and several others are behind the drive.

An earthquake struck southern and central Turkey and western Syria on February 6. It occurred 38 km (24 mi) west of the city of Gaziantep, causing widespread damage and thousands of fatalities in the region.

A total of three powerful earthquakes struck the region in less than 24 hours, claiming the lives of thousands of residents.

Donors arrived at the warehouse with their cars filled with supplies and relief materials. Some of them had made over five trips – among them was an Emirati woman who made the trip all by herself. “I wanted to help the affected [people]. I did not know how to do it. When I read about the campaign, I drove to a nearby supermarket and brought [the items] here to send to Turkey,” said the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Another good Samaritan brought a large load of relief materials. “I work for a businessman in Dubai. My boss wanted me to deliver this here. I did not know what it was for, but when I learned about the campaign, I requested my friends and family members to contribute,” said Rajeev Pullikanan.

Fatma Nilgun Emrem, President of the Turkish Business Council - Dubai & Northern Emirates, immediately sprung into action when she heard about the disaster. “My phone was ringing continuously when the news broke out. We got into action, and the first thing we decided on was to send a rescue team,” said Emrem.

“We got time to decide the plan of action and organise relief materials,” added Emrem.

The Turkish counsel has formed many teams for ease of operation, from collecting the items to delivery. “We have a group of people who are always present whenever in need. We have a database team, collecting team, counting team, registration team, and aa packaging team.”

Turkish authorities have made a list of relief materials that can be donated. “We have a list of materials that are needed for the affected people,” said Mustafa İlker Kılıç, Consul General, Turkey Consulate.

The two-day campaign saw thousands of residents of various nationalities making their way with donations to the warehouse.

“All the donated Items are new and I am thankful to thousands of Dubai residents who have donated and helped the affected [people],” said Emrem.

The donated stocks are being packed at the warehouse and will be transported to the airport. “The inland logistics will be carried out by a local company owned by a Turkish national. And the main transfer will be done by Turkish Airlines to Istanbul", he added.

The organisers are planning to extend the campaign by a day, as they are receiving a huge response from contributing residents.

The Consul General mentioned: “The beauty of [the] UAE is that donations [come] in huge numbers from various nationalities, [by] which we are deeply touched. We saw people whom we have never met donating to the affected [people] – all [coming] together for humanity."

“We are very pleased that the Emirati leadership offered us a helping hand in this moment of distress, and sent teams to deal with it. We are touched by their contributions,” concluded Kılıç.


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