World unites in helping out Van quake survivors

The international community swings into action to help victims in quake-hit Van with more than a dozen countries, including Israel, sending tents, cash and letters of support
A member of a charity organization serves an afternoon meal to an earthquake victim. REUTERS photo

A member of a charity organization serves an afternoon meal to an earthquake victim. REUTERS photo

The heart-warming solidarity of people across Turkey who rushed to aid the survivors of the Van earthquake has been matched by an international outpouring of aid, which comes as the Turkish Red Crescent admits it cannot meet the high demand for tents from survivors.

A striking example of the global effort comes from Japan, as the mailbox of the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo is reportedly being filled with envelopes that include aid in cash and letters of support.

More than 12 countries have offered help including Israel, Ukraine, France, Russia, Britain, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. As prefabricated houses from Israel come to the aid of survivors ahead of a harsh winter, Turkish officials emphasize that politics and humanitarian aid are different issues. Israel has offered to send a ship carrying prefabricated houses, instead of sending them via planes, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Some 523 people have now been been confirmed dead in the quake zone, while another 1,650 are listed as injured following the Oct. 23 temblor. A total of 185 people have been rescued since the quake struck.

Meanwhile,Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek responded to criticism regarding “earthquake taxes” that have been paid by consumers since the great Marmara earthquake of 1999. The revenue from six indirect taxes was spent on “national projects on transport and welfare,” according to the minister.

Thursday, October 27, 2011
ISTANBUL / ANKARA