DEVASTATION: A man searches for people in the rubble of a destroyed building in Gaziantep, Türkiye on Monday. (AP PHOTO)
TWO representatives of the group Concerned Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago (CMTT), Imtiaz Mohammed (PRO) and Manwar Ali (Secretary), arrived in Gaziantep, Turkey, on Tuesday evening, bringing relief assistance.
On February 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Gaziantep, followed by a 7.8 strength quake in Kahramanmaraş Province, all killing an estimated 35,400 people in Turkey and 5,700 in Syria, and causing US$84 billion in damage.
In a text message to Newsday on Wednesday, Mohammed said, “CMTT has partnered with Islamic Relief Worldwide based in London, England, to provide much needed relief supplies to the victims of the earthquake in various villages, towns and cities in Turkey.”
He said Islamic Relief started delivering aid within 24 hours of the earthquake.
“Aid included food items, blankets, tents, medicines, also assisted search and rescue teams with manpower, field hospitals, etcetera.
“The funds raised by CMTT in TT would be used to cover the expenses for some of the above relief supplies.”
Mohammed said he and Ali have travelled and delivered aid to several countries on behalf of CMTT and the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
“These include, just to name a few countries, Haiti – earthquake (four missions); Pakistan – flood (four missions); Bangladesh-Rohingya Muslims refugees; Indonesia – earthquake; Philippines – typhoon; Bahamas, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda – hurricanes; and St Vincent – volcano eruptions.
“We have completed over 25 international trips to countries affected by natural disasters.”
Asked if he was afraid to go to Turkey (where there have been reports of 2,100 aftershocks), Mohammed said, “No, we are not afraid to travel to any country after a disaster including Turkey. We are grateful for the opportunity to assist people affected by disasters. We have been doing this since 2009 to now.”
Having recently said CMTT had been trying to raise $1 million in relief aid for Turkey by asking TT’s imams to seek donations in their jamaah, Mohammed said, “Donations are going as planned. We should be able to achieve our target of $2 million.”