Kuwait’s steadfast commitment includes a $15 million aid package for earthquake-affected areas in Turkey, while the ‘Kuwait Beside You’ campaign has raised $35 million in support
Her Excellency Tuba Nur Sonmez, the Turkish ambassador to Kuwait commendably highlighted Kuwait’s swift and compassionate response to Turkey’s urgent plea for international relief following the devastating earthquakes that struck Kahramanmaras and caused significant loss of life across 11 provinces last year.
During her address at the earthquake photo exhibition commemorating the first anniversary of the February 6 disaster, she revealed that, on the day of the disaster, Kuwait promptly organized an air bridge to Turkey, as directed by the late Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad. This initiative swiftly allocated two military cargo planes for transporting search and rescue teams, medical staff, and supplies, facilitating a rapid and effective response to post-disaster needs.
She said, “The State of Kuwait’s commitment shines through with an aid package of $15 million earmarked for quake-hit regions. Additionally, the ‘Kuwait Beside You’ aid campaign, spearheaded by the Kuwaiti government, has rallied $35 million in support. It’s worth noting the significant contributions made by Kuwaiti citizens through various humanitarian organizations.” She said, “We express heartfelt appreciation to the generous people of Kuwait and citizens from other countries residing here for their support on this difficult day.”
She remarked, “Exactly one year ago, Turkey confronted one of its darkest days, witnessing one of the most devastating disasters in modern history. Earthquakes ravaged an expanse of about 70,000 square kilometers, surpassing four times the size of Kuwait, marking this event as one of the rarest disasters the world has experienced.”
She further added that this major disaster claimed the lives of 53,000 people. Millions of our people have lost their homes and been forced to leave their areas. Historical components and valuable architectural works of our ancient cities were destroyed.
“May God have mercy on our citizens who lost their lives, and our condolences to their families. I wish patience and steadfastness to our brothers who were affected in one way or another by the earthquake and are still trying to heal their wounds,” she added.
She noted that despite a year elapsing since the disaster, the pain persists as if it were yesterday. Yet, as a unified Turkish nation, we’ve stood together from day one, exemplifying solidarity and resilience that has inspired the world.
She further emphasized that despite the vast extent of the disaster area and the widespread devastation, we united our efforts tirelessly. Under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, alongside all governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and every individual in our cherished nation, we exerted our utmost to alleviate the plight of our affected brothers and sisters.
She expressed optimism, stating that the dawn of brighter days is imminent. She said that action was taken quickly in response to our citizens who were trapped and screaming from under the rubble, “Is there anyone who can hear us?” during the earthquake disaster that struck our country, with attempts to reach them quickly and heal their wounds.
“Regrettably, amidst the devastation currently unfolding in Gaza, the Palestinian people find themselves abandoned to confront their fate alone. Basic aid supplies are not reaching Gaza’s residents, who have nowhere to seek refuge from the Israeli terrorism unfolding before the eyes of the world, an atrocity amounting to genocide.”
“On this occasion, I pray to God to have mercy on our Palestinian brothers who lost their lives in the endless Israeli attacks, and I wish patience and steadfastness to all our brothers who are struggling to stand firm in Gaza, which has turned into a pile of rubble. Their pain is our pain. In Türkiye, we will continue to stand by them. Additionally, the steadfast support provided by the State of Kuwait and its people to Gaza and Palestine still represents hope for the people of Gaza.”
“Of course, this pain will end one day. The winner is always known in the battle of truth and falsehood. The white days in which we will wake up to a bright morning are not far away,” she added.
Building a Kuwaiti village
The Turkish ambassador stated that support is still needed because millions of people have lost their homes. They had to relocate to other cities, including some here in Kuwait, as people from Hatay constitute the largest Turkish diaspora in Kuwait, with their families residing here. They have lost their jobs, their shops, and all their possessions. Therefore, continued assistance will be required for some time. Over the past year, there has been significant aid from numerous NGOs in Kuwait, and it is still ongoing. “As far as I know, there will be an exhibition of donated arts and crafts from those who wish to contribute to building a Kuwaiti village.”