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Zimbabwe steps up to assist Turkey as death toll rises

Story by Memory Chamisa

ZIMBABWE continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Turkey as the country battles the devastating effects of the earthquake which rocked the country on February 6.

Zimbabwe has joined the rest of the world in assisting Turkey after the earthquake which also affected Syria

With a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, the earthquake left a trail of destruction with more than 40 000 lives being lost while many others are still missing.

Turkish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Berna Kasnakli Versteden expressed gratitude to all those who have extended a helping hand as the country comes to terms with the harsh effects of the quake.

“We continue to receive messages of condolences and support from all over the world and for that, we are grateful. The earthquake has broken families with some still missing. We are trying to focus on those that need aid in terms of shelter, food medical assistance and in some areas the search is still ongoing,” she said.

“We are grateful to Zimbabwe for the aid and search teams that went to Turkey. The President also signed the book of condolences.”

A Zimbabwean team led by Mr Afzal Motiwala was in Turkey last week to render assistance in searching for survivors and spoke on the situation in Turkey and the need for concerted efforts in assisting survivors.

“Our team have travelled to assist in the search, rescue and recovery operation of people who have suffered in the earthquake. We went with food, clothing, generators and search and rescue equipment,” said Mr Motiwala.

“What we saw in Turkey was devastating as most buildings had collapsed. We set up a food kitchen in Islahia to feed 10 000 people a day and assisted with meals, tents and heating. We wanted to show that as Zimbabweans, we stood strong with our brothers in Turkey in its time of need.”

Turkey has since called off search operations as the country now focuses on aid and medication for the survivors.

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