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Hardships of Fasting: Observing Ramadan in Earthquake Struck Areas

The Turkish army distributed Suhoor meals inside shelters housing hundreds of people affected by the earthquake that struck the south of the country on February 6. For their part, the residents of the Turkish-Qatari Center for Prefabricated Houses in the city of Antakya, Hatay state, were excited to eat the Suhoor meal. Approximately 1,500 people live in this center, where feelings of joy overwhelmed those who were fasting with the advent of Ramadan, and sadness over the separation of their loved ones who died under the rubble of the earthquake.

Relief agencies and donors at home and abroad launched campaigns to provide the necessary support for the earthquake area, just days before the month of Ramadan. These aspects include, an expansion of the hot meal tents that were set up with the coordination of the Turkish Emergency and Rescue Authority, in the cities of Hatay, Adiyaman, Kahramanmaraş and Malatya, and converting them into Iftar tents in Ramadan. As well as entertaining those affected by holding celebrations and games, such as children's acrobatics. Among others. These services are provided by associations and non-governmental organizations, such as the Federation of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges in Turkey, the Association of Independent Industrialists and Businessmen, the Association of Businessmen in Anatolia, the Association of Restaurants and Tourism, the Red Crescent Society, in addition to donors.

But the Turks weren’t the only one affected with this earthquake, as their southern neighbor got their fair share. For their part, the Syrians are welcoming the month of Ramadan this year in unprecedented circumstances. Between the economic crises that cast a shadow over the whole world, and the natural disasters, the latest of which was the earthquake, which caused the deaths of more than 54 thousand at least, in addition to the displaced who’s numbers surpass the hundreds if not millions.

The Syrians received humanitarian aid from multiple organizations, like the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Agency “IHH” who were able to help 135,000 Syrians. Syria faces today a worrying high number of poverty and food insecurity as per the UN. The United Nations continued in raising the alarms by saying that funding gaps could force the World Food Program to stop providing aid to nearly four million Syrians by summer if donations are made in bigger numbers.

It is also important to note that help and aid should have reached the Syrian people much sooner than they were actually sent. And about that, according to Al Jazeera, an investigation committee appointed by the United Nations said that the international organization and the Syrian regime are responsible for the delay in the arrival of emergency aid to the Syrians after the earthquake that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria last month.

But the people of Syria, with the ever-growing oppression and heartburn, are more and more resilient, they ultimately refuse to waive any white flags of defeat. As a matter of fact, women in Idlib, northwestern Syria, launched an initiative to help families affected by the earthquake in shelter centers in the region, and abandoned their own project that they were preparing for the month of Ramadan. The idea of ​​the project was based on preparing foodstuffs and selling them during the month of Ramadan, and distributing their earnings to the workers in the project. It was proposed by the activist and director of the “Light of Hope'' organization, Raifa Sami, who died as a result of the earthquake that struck the region in the city of Antakya in southern Turkey, but after the disaster of 6 February The activists decided to contribute to easing the burden on those affected.


                        Edited by : Ritaja Kar

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