The rehabilitation of quake-stricken people is a lengthy and costly process, and requires the support of the international community, the top official of Pakistan’s biggest charitable organisation said.
“The international community should keep supporting Türkiye to help rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of people whose normal lives have been disrupted and they are now on the streets,” the head of the Edhi Foundation, Faisal Edhi, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
Faisal, who arrived in Türkiye on February 9 to assist with the relief work, is the son of the late renowned Pakistani philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi.
The social worker, who is experienced in carrying out relief work in calamities and disasters, said the process of rehabilitating affected people is long and costly.
Based in Kayseri these days, Edhi and his team have been running around three kitchens in Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, with the help of local volunteers.
“Every day, we provide food to 5,000 to 6,000 people,” he said, adding that they also distribute canned, ready-to-eat food along with staple and dry items, such as rice, lentils, cooking oil, sugar, and tea.
While other teams from Pakistan were assisting with rescue and search operations, Faisal Edhi and his team have been helping with relief efforts. So far, they have distributed 5,000 ration bags to affected families and aim to take it up to 15,000 to 20,000.
‘The scale of disaster is massive’
The social worker has also carried out relief operations in Türkiye in the past. After the 1999 massive earthquake in Izmit, he and his parents, Abdul Sattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi, came for assistance to victims and stayed for 20 days.
“I remember collapsed buildings and that many people had died. There was a lot of destruction.”
He called the February 6 earthquakes a bigger disaster.
“The scale of the disaster is massive. I saw local teams and rescuers from Germany, France, Israel, and many other countries working but the scale of the tragedy was too big,” he said, recalling the helplessness on the face of an old man in Kahramanmaras whose family was buried under the rubble.
The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 tremors were centred in Kahramanmaras and rocked 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.
Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the trembles that struck in less than 10 hours.
More than 42,000 people were killed by the back-to-back quakes in Türkiye, according to the latest official figures. Thousands of others were injured.