UAE pledges $114.6 million, leads GCC nations in Turkey earthquake relief aid efforts

The world has come together to provide shelter, food and rebuild the lives of Turkish and Syrian earthquake victims

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Collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, southeastern Turkey, on February 14, 2023. Photo: Reuters
Collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, southeastern Turkey, on February 14, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Published: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 6:43 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Feb 2023, 10:11 AM

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that last week's powerful earthquakes were "as big as atomic bombs" that have killed over 41,000 till today, in both Turkey and Syria.

The magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 quakes that struck on Feb 6 destroyed tens of thousands of buildings, leaving millions homeless and in urgent need of humanitarian aid. The devastation on the ground and the feeling of despair among the survivors are immeasurable.

The world has come together to provide shelter and food and rebuild the lives of Turkish and Syrian quake victims. UAE and other Gulf countries rushed to set up air bridges, providing food, medicine, essential supplies, and rescue personnel and opened their hearts to help the two countries.

Aid from Gulf countries:


Under the directives of the leadership, the UAE swung into action from Day 1 of the earthquake. On February 6, the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan directed that a search-and-rescue team be dispatched to help people affected by the earthquake in Turkey. A field hospital was also established.

By evening, the first aid plane took off from Abu Dhabi to Adana Airport, southern Turkey, carrying search and rescue teams, crews, and medical equipment.

“Gallant Knight / 2” operation was launched to provide assistance for the affected people. UAE President ordered the provision of $100 million for the relief of those affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Feb 6 directed the dispatch of urgent humanitarian aid worth Dh50 million to Syria on Monday.

UAE is continuing, for the 10th consecutive day, to send relief supplies to Syria and Turkey, with a total of 70 flights sent so far to the two countries. A field hospital was opened in the İslahiye district of Gaziantep, Turkey, with an inpatient ward comprising 50 fully-equipped beds, operating rooms and a medical team of 75 doctors, nurses and assistants, with another 200-bed hospital recently completed in the Hatay province. In addition, an SAR team, comprising 92 rescuers, was sent to carry out SAR operations in Kahramanmaraş.

Saudi Arabia:

Several planes carrying Saudi Arabia's humanitarian relief, and medical aid landed in various affected areas in Turkey, and Saudi search and rescue teams have been working side by side with their Turkish officials.

On Monday, another aircraft from the Kingdom touched down at Gaziantep Airport in Turkiye carrying medical supplies worth more than SR36 million ($9.6 million).

On Saturday morning, the sixth plane landed in Turkey’s Gaziantep, carrying 98 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including food, blankets and medicine.

Saudi Arabia is also "studying the construction of 3,000 temporary houses in quake-hit areas in Turkey and Syria,” Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, told Al Ekhbariya television.

Following the earthquake disaster, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center launched a donation drive on Feb. 8 for the quake victims in the two countries.

More than 362 million riyals (nearly $96 million) have been collected so far as part of the drive, according to the Saudi government's Sahem Platform, which is responsible for the donation campaign.


The first relief flight departed on Tuesday (Feb 7) with aid for the affected people.

Kuwait has been coordinating urgent relief aid campaigns for people affected by the massive earthquake. Charity and relief bodies across the country are being invited to participate in the endeavour. Several organisations have launched online donation campaigns to raise funds for the task ahead.

'Kuwait by your side' campaign kicked off on Saturday (Feb 11) with live stream on KTV. The campaign was organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.

The Cabinet also assigned the Ministry of Social Affairs to launch a donation campaign, in collaboration with charities, nongovernment organizations, civil society organizations, private sector, citizens and residents, to collect and send relief aid to the quake-affected people.


Qatar plans to send 10,000 cabins and caravans from last year's World Cup to provide shelter for survivors of the Turkish earthquakes. An initial batch of 350 structures was shipped out on Sunday, the Qatar Fund for Development said.

Qatar has one of the biggest foreign rescue teams in Turkey, with about 130 people on the ground. It has also sent around 100 tonnes in aid so far.

The Gulf state's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, visited Turkey on Sunday. He stayed away from the affected zones, holding talks in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on ways Doha could help "mitigate this disaster", the emir said in a tweet.

Oman and Bahrain have set up humanitarian campaigns and launched fundraisers. Both countries have collected tonnes of aid for the quake victims.


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