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PM Shehbaz forms relief fund for Turkiye after earthquake

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, Pakistan announced its contribution to the aid efforts for the earthquake-affected citizens of Turkey and Syria, with the establishment of a relief fund and the dispatch of a 51-person rescue team to Istanbul, as well as the prime minister’s Wednesday departure for Istanbul (today).

In addition to deciding to pay one month’s salary to the relief fund, the federal cabinet members also decided to establish the fund. Additionally, senior federal employees in grades 18 and up would contribute one day’s salary to the fund.

Following the cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) released a statement saying that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had “created a relief fund and urged the people of Pakistan, particularly the businesspeople, and philanthropists, to donate generously to the fund.”

After the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Monday, more than 7,300 people have perished in Turkey and Syria, thousands have been injured, and millions are unable to return home because their apartments either no longer exist or could collapse from an aftershock.

During the cabinet discussion, it became clear that Turkiye had led the charge in aiding Pakistan’s citizens following last year’s terrible floods.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sharif asked the world community in a tweet to turn their sympathy for the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey into practical and prompt material aid.

He said: “The pictures of death and devastation were mind-numbing 24 hours after the terrible earthquake struck Syria and Turkey. Witnessing the scope of the unfolding human catastrophe is heartbreaking. Solidarity should manifest as timely, practical assistance for the suffering of humanity.

He informed the cabinet members that in addition to supplies for relief efforts, rescue teams had also been sent right away to Turkiye. He promised that Pakistan would provide every assistance to the people of Syria and Turkey.

He informed the group that rescue teams, physicians, and paramedics had been sent to Turkiye along with PIA and PAF aircraft. Additionally, he continued, the supply of humanitarian aid would continue.

On Tuesday, a special PIA flight transported the 51-person rescue crew to Istanbul, and the national carrier will soon fly another special flight to Syria.

A PIA representative tweeted that the rescue squad and their specialized equipment, which together weighed seven tonnes, were on board aircraft PK-707 from Lahore to Istanbul.

He declared that a second special Boeing 777 jet bearing help would depart Islamabad and arrive in Damascus.

In a separate press statement, the spokesperson stated that PIA operated daily flights to Istanbul, which would be accessible for the dispatch of rescue and relief efforts.

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