According to officials, a US citizen from Pakistan anonymously donated $30 million to help those affected by the earthquake that killed thousands of people in Turkey and Syria and destroyed their infrastructure.
A rare instance of good news has emerged amid the tragedy’s mounting death and damage tolls: word of the Pakistani businessman’s kindness.
Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, tweeted on Saturday that he was “deeply moved by the example” set by a fellow countryman who entered the Turkish embassy in Washington and gave the donation to help earthquake victims.
“These are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable odds,” Sharif continued in his tweet.
Mustafa Tanyeri, the editor-in-chief of the political news website Election Post, tweeted that Murat Mercan, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington, had confirmed the country’s contribution to the earthquake relief effort started in the US.
The donation was received in addition to requests for $77 million from the UN World Food Program to provide rations to at least 590,000 displaced people in Turkey and 284,000 in Syria. The program states that approximately 45,000 of those individuals were refugees, and another 545,000 were internally displaced.
More than 33,000 people had passed away as of Sunday morning in the US following the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck parts of Turkey and Syria six days earlier. That number will almost certainly rise as the likelihood of survivors being discovered by rescue teams decreases over time.
Turkey was home to nearly 30,000 of the total number of fatalities as of Sunday. In the meantime, a decade-long civil war in Syria’s northwest had repeatedly forced many residents to flee their homes. This region was thus particularly vulnerable to the earthquake.
Even though the US temporarily relaxed its sanctions on Syria to speed up the delivery of aid, that particular region has received little assistance compared to other affected areas because rebels rather than the government controls it.
Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN’s relief efforts, tweeted on Saturday from the Syrian border with Turkey, “We have so far failed the people in northwest Syria.”
The fact that there is only one UN-approved border crossing open between Turkey and Syria further complicates relief efforts.
Those who follow events in Turkey and Syria have had to turn to stories of survival for solace from the steadily rising death toll outside of the $30 million donation by the Pakistani businessman living in the US for the earthquake victims.
One of those tales centers on 54-year-old Syrian Malik Milandi, who spent 156 hours in the earthquake’s debris before being rescued by a group of Chinese and Turkish firefighters.
In the meantime, in southern Turkey, almost a week after the earthquake, three children—a toddler, a father and his five-year-old daughter, and a 10-year-old girl—were saved from collapsed buildings.