Türkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) leads the country’s efforts to help Pakistan which has been hit by one of the deadliest floods in its history this summer amid monsoon season.
AFAD dispatched its first crew to the Asian country on Aug. 7 and has delivered tents and food as it plans to send more than 100,000 more tents and over 500,000 boxes of food for the displaced.
The authority, a state-run agency that oversees disaster response and prevention efforts both in Türkiye and across the world, concentrated its efforts in the province of Sindh.
The latest batch of aid was in Mirpur Khas, some 240 kilometers away from Sindh's provincial capital Karachi. The road connecting the two cities was heavily damaged in the floods and most people displaced by the waters have taken shelter in makeshift tents. Land is sparse for setting up tents as most suitable areas are flooded. People are forced to set up tents on the side of roads relatively less affected but they have little access to clean drinking water or a steady food supply. High temperatures are also a challenge for the displaced. Floodwaters, however, remain the biggest risk for public health. Children play in the floodwaters while some adults swim in them and others wash their dishes despite the hygiene risk.
AFAD delivered 500 boxes of food to the people of Mirpur Khas, gathered at a school around an hour's drive from the central part of the city. AFAD deputy director Hamza Taşdelen says Türkiye has sent 11 planeloads of aid to Pakistan so far and a 12th flight is being arranged. He explained that they are concentrating on getting aid deliveries to the country via railroads as it allows them to carry more, noting that three trains already departed from Türkiye and a fourth would leave on Friday. Each train carries about 500 tons of aid, from food to hygiene kits, tents and medicine. A total of 20,000 tents and 50,000 boxes of food have already been shipped or are being shipped, Taşdelen says. “Türkiye is a charitable country and will always be with the people of Pakistan,” he added.
He said the teams would stay in Pakistan “as long as Pakistan requested.” “We are trying to respond as quickly as possible. For instance, our crew was the first to respond to the earthquake in Nepal in 2015,” he said.
“Nobody helped us but Türkiye remembered Pakistan,” Naim Akhtar, a flood victim helped by AFAD said, thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.