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Quake survivors in SE Türkiye welcome Ramadan in containers, ships



Nearly 2 million Muslims in southeastern Türkiye started this year’s fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday sheltering in containers and tent cities, where they broke their first fast.

Meals prepared by various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are being distributed across the region, including the soup kitchen set up in the Qatar-Türkiye container city established in Hatay’s Antakya district.

Fast-breaking meals in the container city where approximately 1,500 people are staying were distributed before iftar, a dinner to mark the breaking of the daily fast. Some earthquake survivors broke their fast with their relatives around tables set up in front of their temporary living areas.

Mahmut Zambak, who lives in the container city with his family, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they entered the month of Ramadan with sadness due to the earthquake. Explaining that his house was destroyed in the disaster, Zambak said: “We were staying in tents. Our state provided us with containers, we do our iftar in containers. Thank God for today too. May my Lord not let our state suffer. We broke our first fast.”

Yusuf Çakıcıoğlu, another survivor of the earthquake, noted that despite the challenging days, they were able to have the first meal for breaking the Ramadan fast.

On the other hand, the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and the Gebze Chamber of Commerce distributed food to the citizens in the tent city established by the Swedish aid organization in the city’s Hassa district.


Earthquake survivor Ahmet Kömür told AA that this Ramadan is bittersweet. Stating that they were given food for sahur (the last predawn meal before the start of the daily fast) and iftar, Kömür said, “May Allah be pleased with those who give. We take (what we receive) to our homes. It is a good service.”

One of the survivors, Nezahat Koyuncu shelters in a ship called the MSC Aurelia in Iskenderun. Koyuncu told AA that he was very glad to find a place to stay on the ship, expressing gratitude for the sahur and iftar organizations held on his temporary floating home.

At the same time, citizens in other southeastern provinces devastated by last month’s earthquakes broke their first fast of Ramadan in tents with meals provided by municipalities from other provinces, including the capital Ankara and Istanbul.

The mayor of Altındağ Municipality from Ankara, Asım Balcı, told AA that the municipality has been actively working in Osmaniye since the earthquake occurred.

Balcı explained that they have also established a soup kitchen within the tent city and have been providing three meals a day to the victims. In addition, they have made arrangements for iftar and sahur during Ramadan, where up to 1,000 people can have their meals at the same time in a hygienic dining space.

”This work will continue throughout Ramadan. After Ramadan, we will continue our work if needed,” Balcı assured.

In Adıyaman, around 100,000 people are expected to be served at the iftar and sahur tables set up at 70 points. During Ramadan, “Ramadan tables” were set up at different points by the Turkish Red Crescent, NGOs and municipalities with the theme of “Unity in Ramadan, unwavering brotherhood” for both earthquake victims and those working in the field.


Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Ahmet Misbah Demircan told AA that Ramadan is the month of unity, togetherness and spirituality. Stating that all Muslims share meals that they have on their tables during Ramadan, Demircan said, “We witnessed the sharing culture of the Islamic world closely in the earthquake region.”

Providing relief to the earthquake zone, many of the 39 local municipalities from Istanbul also announced earlier this week plans to dispatch food and organized sahur and iftar meals in the quake zone during Ramadan. Among the municipalities, Esenler Municipality noted that it will provide iftars and sahurs to 1,000 people in Adıyaman’s Gölbaşı district to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive and heal the wounds of quake survivors. They also noted the iftars, consisting of four meal choices, will be delivered to the houses of 2,000 people.

Üsküdar Municipality, on the other hand, announced that, in place of its traditional local ”gönül sofraları” (”hearts’ tables”), the district will skip the tradition this year and will instead send its tables to the victims in Iskenderun, providing 5,000 sahur and 10,000 iftar meals each day.

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Source: Daily Sabah

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