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Türkiye appreciates South Africa’s support in raising funds for quake victims

The Turkish ambassador to South Africa appreciated the South African government, non-governmental organizations, businesses and citizens for raising millions of rand to assist earthquake victims in Türkiye.

Aysegul Kandas said the South African government donated 5 million rands ($270,641) to the UN appeal for Türkiye and gave them 10 tons of medical aid including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Speaking to Anadolu at her residence in the capital Pretoria, Kandas said South Africans were among the first to respond to the deadly quakes in Türkiye by sending search and rescue teams within 24 hours of the disaster.

She said Gift of the Givers, a humanitarian group, was among those who dispatched teams to Türkiye. She said the aid group sent 38 volunteers to Türkiye, including five K-9 units affiliated with the South African Police Services (SAPS).

“With their assistance, one elderly lady of 90 years was pulled from the rubble alive,” she said, adding that many bodies were also found.

The envoy further said there were many other NGOs including, Al-Imdaad, Jamiatul Ulama South Africa, AwqafSA, Ashraf-Ul-Eid, and Salaam Foundation that contributed to the relief efforts either on the ground in Türkiye or from South Africa.

Kandas said 130 tons of donations consisting of various materials ranging from winter tents, heaters to generators were donated by generous South Africans and have been sent to earthquake zones with the assistance of Turkish Airlines.

She said South African NGOs have donated in kind assistance valued at 20 million rands ($1.08 million), with one businessman donating two big tents of 1,000 square meters each. Kandas said the tents have arrived in Hatay and will be turned into two primary schools.

The ambassador added that they have also received over 3 million rands ($162,385) in cash collected into a local bank account opened by the embassy in South Africa.

Kandas also thanked pharmaceutical company Aspen South Africa which came to Türkiye’s rescue with critical medicine and other items such as mobile toilets and blankets.

She said numerous members of the Turkish community in South Africa also came to the rescue of their countrymen by collecting the most urgently needed items at four different cities designated by the Turkish Embassy in the capital Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Kandas explained that embassy personnel in Pretoria, the Yunus Emre Institute in Johannesburg, Türkiye’s Maarif Foundation and Turkish Co-operation and Co-ordination Agency in Pretoria, have all been working 24/7 within the crisis task force to monitor the collection and delivery of the donations to the earthquake victims in Türkiye with Turkish Airlines flights on a daily basis.

She said hundreds of people ranging from ministers, diplomats and city mayors have reached out to the Turkish embassy and wrote solidarity messages in the book of condolences.

She said on Thursday, the embassy hosted top South African cooperate companies and big businesses for a small fundraising to create awareness of the current situation of earthquake victims in Türkiye.

“We appealed to them to assist build container houses as accommodation is now most needed,” she said.

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