Qatar has allocated 10,000 mobile homes to areas affected by earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
The international community has responded to the tragic earthquakes that struck Turkey and neighbouring Syria on Monday as the number of combined fatalities surpassed 4,000.
Countries from around the world have dispatched rescue and medical personnel to Turkey and Syria to respond to thousands impacted by the natural disaster.
On Monday night, Qatar allocated 10,000 mobile homes to Turkey and Syria, as tens of thousands have been left without shelter due to the destruction caused by the quakes.
“Within the framework of the continuous Qatari efforts to contribute to relieving the quake-affected people in Syria and Turkey, the State of Qatar has allocated 10,000 mobile homes that will be transferred to the affected areas,” the Gulf state’s foreign ministry said.
Earlier, the first flights of an air bridge set up by Qatar were launched per the directives of Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Accompanied by a team from the Qatar International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Force, Lekhwiya, the air bridge is equipped with field hospitals, relief aid, tents among other essential rescue tools.
It comes as Turkish authorities confirmed that the death toll reached at least 2,921 overnight. Another 1,444 people have also been confirmed dead in neighbouring Syria where several areas were impacted.
Turkey’s relief agency said 15,384 people were injured and at least 6,217 buildings have collapsed, with the earthquake following 243 aftershocks.
The first 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck early in the morning with the epicenter close to the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Hours later, this was followed by a second quake with a magnitude of 7.5 in southeast Turkey.
Tremors were also felt in Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region.
Qatar’s amir also called the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express his condolences and confirm Doha’s readiness to provide assistance. On Tuesday, the Qatari leader issued a “cable of condolences” to Erdogan.
The Turkish embassy in Doha also confirmed that some 120 Qatari search and rescue personnel will be sent to the country, in a statement sent to Doha News.
US President Joe Biden also confirmed an immediate response team will be deployed to address the disaster. According to the Associated Press, California is sending at least 100 Los Angeles County firefighters and structural engineers to Turkey.
“Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
The European Union has sent a search and rescue team to Turkey and activated the bloc’s Copernicus satellite system for emergency mapping.
Meanwhile, China announced $5.9 million of emergency aid to support Turkey’s relief efforts. This came after South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the dispatch of rescue workers and medical equipment to Turkey.
Saudi Arabia has also stepped in to help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the deadly earthquakes.
In a phone call with president Erdogan, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “extended his deepest condolences to [Erdogan] and to the Turkish people and the families of the earthquake victims, and his wishes for the speedy recovery of the injured.”
The United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan dispatched a field hospital along with search and rescue teams to both Turkey and Syria.
“The President has made two phone calls to the Syrian and Turkish presidents to express the UAE’s solidarity with their countries following the earthquake that the two countries witnessed,” Abu Dhabi’s state news agency reported.
Lebanon is sending a team from the Red Cross and Civil Defense first responders to Turkey.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II sent emergency aid to Turkey and Syria as Egypt pledged humanitarian aid.
Rescue efforts continue
The current death toll is also expected to rise as rescue efforts continue, with workers unable to reach affected areas including Turkey’s Hatay province.
“It is awful. Too many messages of people in the rubble. People who speak from the city only cry. That’s the only thing they could do,” Ragip Soylu, Turkey bureau chief for the Middle East Eye, said.
In a tweet responding to the tragedy, the Turkish president declared a week of national mourning.
“A national mourning period has been declared for seven days,” the president tweeted.
“Our flag will be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our national and foreign representative offices,” he added.