Turkey mobilizes to provide more aid to flood-stricken Pakistan
As one international agency after another announces that millions of people in Pakistan are in dire need of aid, Turkish institutions have mobilized to provide relief to the nation in the aftermath of the most disastrous floods in the country's history. Most Turkish newspapers spotlighted urgent appeals for aid on their front pages yesterday, and some even started campaigns of their own. Since the Muslim world is in the holy month of Ramadan, the appeals are even more significant, as every Muslim must pay zakat al-fitr (a type of charity) at this time. Only a small minority of the 6 million Pakistanis desperate for food and clean water have received help after floods that have killed up to 1,600 people. Pakistan's ambassador to Turkey called on the international community to help his country after the devastating disaster. Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin told the Anatolia news agency that nearly 20 million people had been affected by the floods and landslides stemming from heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan. "A 165,000-square-meter area is currently under water. This equals 20 percent of Pakistan's total surface area," he said. Noting that Turkey sent a significant amount of aid immediately after the disaster hit, the ambassador added: "I believe Turkey will continue its help. Governments do the best they can, but the important thing is what the Turkish people do."