The Gulf state was among the first countries to provide much-needed aid in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
Qatar will continue to extend a helping hand to Turkey and Syria following the deadly earthquakes that struck the area in February, a Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) official told Doha News on Monday.
“Until now, of course, our intervention is ongoing, the QRCS is present in Turkey and in Syria. We are providing a lot of aid that alleviates the existing crisis and the one that occurred,” Dr. Mohamed Salah Ibrahim, Director of Relief and International Development Division at QRCS, told Doha News.
Ibrahim’s comments came on the sidelines of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), being held in the Qatari capital from 5-9 March.
The major UN conference is attended by world leaders, diplomats and humanitarian organisations in an effort to discuss issues affecting 46 least developed countries.
The event also comes a month after the deadly earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria on 6 February, the worst the area has witnessed this century.
The catastrophe displaced tens of thousands of people in both countries and killed nearly 50,000 people.
The QRCS official noted that the Qatari entity was among the first responders to head to northern Syria, which has been hard hit by the earthquake after suffering from decade-long violence.
“There was a strong and prompt intervention by sending a civil medical team and it is considered the first to reach northern Syria, through the QRCS. There were plenty of cases that reached the level of amputation among others and they managed to save them,” Ibrahim said.
The QRCS noted that there have been logistical challenges in aid delivery to northern Syria, including destruction.
He added that QRCS had to ration aid in order to successfully support Turkey and Syria in light of the major crises that hit both ends.
Ibrahim revealed that QRCS will soon join forces with the Islamic Development Bank to provide further support to northern Syria.
In the wake of the disaster, the Gulf state’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ordered the dispatch of an air bridge to Turkey, along with a team of the Qatar International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Force, Lekhwiya.
Last month, Sheikh Tamim was also the first leader to visit the country following the disaster.
Days later, the amir donated 50 million QAR ($14 million) to earthquake victims on live television as part of the Oun and Sanad campaign.
The campaign successfully gathered 168,015,836 QAR (around $19 million).
The topic of aid delivery was also among the key speaking points of the amir’s opening speech at the LDC5.
Sheikh Tamim started his speech by addressing the dire humanitarian conditions in Turkey and Syria in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes, the worst to strike the region in decades.
The Qatari leader stressed the need to not “exploit” such a tragedy for political purposes amid numerous obstacles of aid delivery placed by Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime.
“I stress the necessity of giving a helping hand without hesitation to the brotherly Syrian people. As I wonder at the delay in the arrival of aid to these people, I stress that exploiting a human tragedy for political purposes is unacceptable,” Sheikh Tamim said.