Doha’s foreign ministry said Qatar’s humanitarian aid to victims in both countries amounted to around QAR 253 million.
Qatari authorities confirmed plans to deploy 1,400 mobile houses to Turkey for those who lost their homes in the earthquake tragedy on 6 February, just hours before another natural disaster struck on Monday.
“A new shipment of 1,400 mobile homes will be loaded on six ships as of today,” Turkish Ambassador in Doha, Mustafa Goksu, told Anadolu News Agency on Monday, moments before the latest quake hit.
“The Turkish Embassy is cooperating with the Qatar Fund for Development to deliver the entire mobile homes as soon as possible.”
Two weeks after the region was devastated by quakes that claimed the lives of more than 47,000 people in both countries, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked the Turkey-Syria border region, claiming at least eight lives and injuring more than 200.
Ten thousand mobile houses have been promised by Qatar to those who were harmed by the initial devastating earthquakes that occurred in Syria and Turkey. Some 306 fully furnished residences were delivered to Turkey on 12 February as part of the first batch.
“The number of Qatari aircraft carrying urgent aid supplies to Turkiye has so far reached 40,” the Turkish diplomat said.
On Monday evening, the city of Defne in the Hatay province was struck by an earthquake that was felt in Antakya and Adana province. Three minutes later, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck, along with 31 subsequent aftershocks.
Jordan, Occupied Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon felt the shocks on Monday.
Qatar rushes to help
Qatar has been heavily involved in rescue operations since the initial incident in early February.
The first batch of mobile homes from Qatar were deployed as shelters for people affected by one of the region’s worst earthquakes.
The 10,000 mobile homes – cabins or caravans – were part of the relief efforts for individuals affected by the earthquakes, announced by Doha last week.
The mobile homes were previously utilised as accommodations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Qatar had always planned to donate them as part of the 2022 World Cup legacy plans.
However, in light of the dire requirements in Turkey and Syria, Doha made the decision to transport the cabins and caravans.
Just hours after the initial earthquake, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani held a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he expressed his condolences to the people of Turkey.
Immediately, Qatar quickly dispatched a search and rescue team from Lekhwiya – Qatar’s internal security force – after the earthquake occurred and donated tonnes of much-needed aid.
Qatar’s amir ordered the launch of an air bridge to Turkey fully equipped with field hospitals, relief aid, and tents among other essential rescue equipment.
Doha News was on the ground as the Lekhwiya team joined international rescue operations in hopes of detecting signs of life under the rubble.
“We need to work slowly because it’s very dangerous, as any moment could lead to collapse,” Qatar’s Lekhwiya forces told Doha News on the site of one recovery mission during the weekend.
Sheikh Tamim was the first leader to visit Turkey in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Within the first 10 days of the disaster, Qatar’s aid to Turkey and northern Syria reached some QAR 85 million. On Thursday, the foreign ministry said Qatar’s humanitarian aid to victims in both countries amounted to around QAR 253 million.
The amir also personally donated QAR 50 million ($14 million) to earthquake victims on live television during the Oun and Sanad campaign, contributing to the QAR 168,015,836 (around $19 million) raised.
“Qatar has put all its capabilities at the disposal of the brothers in Turkey to support them after the earthquake disaster,” Dr. Majed Al-Ansari, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Anadolu Agency last week.
Dr. Al-Ansari noted that Qatar’s rescue and relief support is “a major priority at present” and its role there will “continue during the various stages of this crisis as long as it’s needed.”
The visit signifies a “remarkable message of solidarity” from the Gulf state, said Ankara’s ambassador to Doha Mustafa Goksu to Qatar’s news agency.
Separately, across the border in Syria, the northern region of the country was particularly hit hard after suffering through more than a decade-long brutal crisis under the Bashar Al-Assad regime.
Qatar Charity began operating eight health centres worth QAR 7 million as well as a bakery that produces more than 5,000 bundles of bread daily in Syria.
Also last week, a team from the Qatari International Search and Rescue Group visited several Syrian areas adjacent near the Turkish border, including Jindires.
The Qatar Fund For Development joined the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, to help with search and rescue operations. Volunteer medics were also deployed to help with complex surgeries.