South African non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have so far provided in-kind aid totalling approximately 1.2 million dollars to those affected by the 6 February earthquakes in Turkey.
From at least ten thousand kilometres away, it extends a friendly hand to Turkey.
South Africa has become one of the African countries that send the most aid materials and search and rescue personnel.
The Turkish Consulate General in Cape Town, the Yunus Emre Institute (YEE) Turkish Cultural Centre in Johannesburg, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) Pretoria Office, and white goods company Arçelik/Durban DEFY's facilities, all designated as aid collection centres, were brimming with aid materials donated by South Africans.
According to Turkey's Ambassador in Pretoria, Ayşegül Kandas South Africa was among the first countries to provide aid to Turkey on the first day of the earthquake.
"The very next day after the earthquakes, a 33-person health and search and rescue team flew to Turkey," he said.
"This was followed by another medical team of 20 people on February 9, 2023"
Noting that South African non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Awqaf SA, Jamiatul Ulema, and Al Imdaad collected approximately 1.2 million dollars in in-kind aid in the first three weeks following the earthquakes.
"When individual aids were added," Kandas said, "more than 100 tonnes of in-kind aid were delivered to Turkey via scheduled and weekly Turkish Airlines cargo flights."
These in-kind donations included 860 tents, 239 generators, 116 mobile toilets, 69 beds, 3,304 sleeping bags, 6,255 blankets, 641 heaters, 46 mobile cookers, and 4 tonnes of clothing, according to Kandas.
"Approximately 110 thousand dollars in cash aid was provided to the official bank account opened by the Embassy within the scope of the earthquake aid mobilisation," Kandas said of the cash aid provided by South Africans and Turkish citizens living here.
Kandas stated that the South African Police Service sent 5 K-9 dogs and a search and rescue team of six people to Turkey during this period, noting that the South African government also provided 10 tonnes of medical supplies.
Kandas noted that South Africans were very interested in the book of condolences that had been opened at the embassy and stated:
"With the people of South Africa's solidarity in these difficult times, the foundations of heart bridges between the two nations that will last forever have been laid.
"This helping hand from 10,000 kilometres away will undoubtedly strengthen bilateral relations and make a significant contribution to human relations and our heartfelt bond.
"We are grateful to the government and people of South Africa. We are grateful to our South African citizens."
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