Turkey steps up aid for flood-hit Pakistan
Both the Turkish government and the public, after already donating 35 tons of humanitarian aid and $5 million to Pakistan, are set to send additional assistance to the flood-stricken country. Along with the Turkish Red Crescent, other aid organizations are appealing for aid to Pakistan, where one-fifth of the country has been hit by floods, affecting nearly one in 10 Pakistanis – up to 20 million people. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish scholar who heads the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), urged the whole world, and especially Turkey, to help Pakistan. Ihsanoglu said the OIC is working to coordinate the assistance from its member countries and private groups in those countries. Eleven years ago, when western Turkey was devastated by a large earthquake, the Pakistani people did their best to help, he said, and now it is the Turkish people's turn. "No matter how much we help, it's not enough. The Pakistani people need help more than ever," he said. According to the Foreign Ministry, humanitarian aid from the Turkish government to Pakistan will total 140 tons, at a value of $1 million. Its first aid shipment included medicine, medical equipment, tents, and blankets. The Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) has also launched a major aid campaign.