Pakistani diaspora in US contributes $30m to victims in Türkiye-Syria quake

PM Shehbaz says these are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over insurmountable odds

Picture source - AFP

A Pakistani living in the US has donated $30 million to the families of those who lost their lives and are injured in the two earthquakes in southern Türkiye and Syria, Prime Minister Shehbaz said on Saturday.

“Deeply moved by the example of an anonymous Pakistani who walked into Turkish embassy in the US & donated $30 million for earthquake victims in Türkiye & Syria,” Shehbaz stated on Twitter.

“These are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable odds,” he added.

On Thursday, the prime minister formed a special cabinet committee to oversee the collection of funds and relief goods for victims of two earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

He announced the committee’s formation at a meeting in Islamabad to review and discuss ways to speed up the ongoing fundraising and relief goods collection campaign.

The committee is meeting on a daily basis to ensure the timely delivery of funds and relief items to the earthquake-ravaged regions.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) stated on Saturday via its official Twitter account that two more relief consignments had been dispatched to Türkiye from Lahore by Pakistan International Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Separately, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said in a statement that its aircraft carrying 16.5 tonnes of humanitarian assistance donated by people for earthquake victims has reached Adana, southern Türkiye.

The PAF is also coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Pakistan Embassy in Ankara to repatriate stranded Pakistanis, according to the statement.

Millions of Pakistanis are still in mourning over the loss of precious lives in Türkiye’s devastating earthquakes.

“I couldn’t put my pain into words because everyone here is in shock and feeling pain for their Turkish brothers and sisters,” Ahmed Shoaib, an Islamabad resident, told Anadolu.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with our brothers and sisters,” he added.

Some organisations in Pakistan have also launched fundraising campaigns to help Türkiye during this difficult time.

One of the country’s largest charitable organisations, Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan, has already dispatched volunteers to assist with ongoing search and rescue operations.

“My father donated a good amount yesterday through Alkhidmat Foundation, and many of my friends are doing the same,” Naila Hayat, a lady doctor from Peshawar, told Anadolu over the phone.

Many prominent people visited the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad to express their condolences and show solidarity with the Turkish people and government.

“People of Pakistan are shocked by the sheer scale of devastation caused by enormous earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. We extend our deepest condolences to the people and government of Turkey,” said Asif Luqman Qazi, director of foreign affairs of the religiopolitical party Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, while delivering a condolence letter by the party chief Sirajul Haq to Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Pacaci.

“We will stand by our brothers and sisters in these difficult times inshaAllah,” he added.

“Very Dear Turkish brothers, sisters, mothers and elders, we share your pain in this natural disaster. I, Asad Qureshi, on behalf of the nation of Pakistan, assure you that we are with you in every situation. Our heart beats in sync with yours,” Anadolu received a video message from a young Pakistani artist named Asad Qureshi.

At least 23,700 people were killed and 80,088 others injured by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, the country’s disaster agency said on Saturday.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centred in Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 10 provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of fewer than 10 hours.

More than 166,000 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

Almost 92,700 people have been evacuated from quake-hit regions so far, AFAD said.

Fundraising drive in educational institutions

A fundraising campaign was also launched on Saturday in educational institutions across the country to collect funds for victims of the earthquakes. The drive was launched in schools, colleges, and universities in response to the prime minister’s call.