On Thursday, the foreign ministry said Qatar’s humanitarian aid to victims in both countries amounted to around QAR 253 million.
Qatar’s search and rescue team concluded its operations in south Turkey on Saturday, wrapping up a two-week task launched in the immediate aftermath of deadly earthquakes, state news agency reported.
The Lekhwiya team was dispatched shortly after the quakes hit Turkey and Syria on 6 February, per directives by Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to search for victims trapped under the rubble.
Doha News accompanied the team on the ground to report on Qatar’s role to support international search and rescue teams working in the area. The Lekhwiya managed to rescue several people in Turkey, including a 12-year-old child.
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.
Almost two weeks on, the death toll in Turkey and Syria surpassed 46,000. In Turkey alone, the death toll reached at least 40,642, and more than 5,800 deaths were reported in neighbouring Syria.
The disaster left more than 84,000 buildings completely or partially destroyed, leaving tens of thousands homeless and in urgent need of shelter.
Sheikh Tamim was the first leader to visit Turkey in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Amir Tamim also ordered the launch of an air bridge to the affected areas to deliver field hospitals, relief aid, tents, medical and winter supplies.
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.”
On Friday, the Qatar Armed Forces provided humanitarian aid to Turkey, carrying four “Agusta” helicopters, maintenance mechanisms and necessities to help those affected.
The Gulf also sent 10,000 mobile homes through the Qatar Fund for Development, and announced it would donate cabins used during the World Cup to house survivors of the quake.
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.