It is truly heartbreaking and disturbing to see the images of utter destruction coming from Turkey and Syria. The powerful 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that occurred on February 6th, 2023, together with the subsequent aftershocks, have unleashed unsettling pictures over the landscape in the two countries. It is believed that a number of people are still buried beneath the wreckage, where the death toll has topped 28,000 and frightening tremors have reduced thousands of buildings to rubble. Volunteers are working against the clock to extract people from the rubble of collapsed structures. Several thousand families are forced to spend their evenings outside in the bitter weather. To save the lives of individuals trapped in southeast Turkey and northern Syria, search and rescue operations are in progress.
Pakistan has shown concrete material support to both nations in light of their cordial ties and in order to assist the devastated citizens of Turkey and Syria during difficult times by providing the aid that is urgently required. Pakistan acknowledges that back in 2005, Turkey built an air bridge with Pakistan following the terrible earthquake that struck Azad Kashmir and killed over 80,000 people. Now it’s time for Pakistan to help its brother country. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan will extend every possible support to Turkey in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake. Pakistan stands in “solidarity with their brethren in distress and will do everything to help them rebuild their lives.”
Despite the economic shutdown, an air bridge has been established to send aid to earthquake-stricken nations. 100 metric tonnes of aid and humanitarian supplies, have been sent to Turkey via Iran by trucks belonging to the National Logistics Cell (NLC), including food, medications, and winterized tents. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is organizing and expediting humanitarian supplies from different Pakistani cities to the earthquake victims. On February 8, 2023, an emergency relief shipment of three flights with supplies and daily aid was also dispatched to Turkey. Another 30 metric tonnes have been airlifted from Islamabad on February 7th, 2023. Earlier in the day, a PIA 777 aircraft transported relief supplies to Turkey from Lahore. Additionally, on February 11th, 2023, another shipment of 40 metric tonnes of humanitarian aid was dispatched from Lahore.
Immediately, in order to expedite the rescue efforts effectively A 51-person official Pakistani rescue team was also scheduled to arrive in Istanbul, and the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund was also established to assist earthquake victims in Turkey during these trying times. Along with that, “the federal cabinet has resolved to donate their one-month salary to the relief fund,”
According to the PAF spokesperson a Pakistan Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft comprising search and rescue groups from PAF Base, Nur Khan, happened to land in Turkey. The PAF aircraft is holding emergency supplies and blankets from the people of Pakistan for the earthquake-affected Turkey brothers and sisters. The media arm of the Pakistani Army, ISPR, earlier reported that two contingents, together with an urban search team and experts in rescue, sniffer dogs, search equipment, a medical team with army doctors, nurses, and technicians, as well as a 30 bed mobile hospital, tents, and blankets, had been sent to Turkey between February 7 and 8.
The Senate of Pakistan also overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution to show support for the victims of the catastrophic earthquake and prayed for the spirits of the deceased to rest in peace and for the grieving families to be given patience. In addition to the government, the general public of Pakistan is also participating in the relief efforts. The people of Pakistan stand by their Turkish brothers and sisters. To assist them in coping with the damage caused by the earthquake, Islamabad’s schools and colleges have started a fundraising effort to aid the Turkish people during this difficult time. The money will be used to raise money for the “Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for Earthquake Victims. Beyond the instantaneous relief effort, Pakistan is dedicated to team up with Turkey throughout the rehabilitation and reconstruction stages after a disaster.