Dutch ambassador to Türkiye swims across Istanbul Strait to support quake victims

Dutch ambassador to Türkiye swims across Istanbul Strait to support quake victims

Massive Feb. 6 twin earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria killed more than 50,000 people

By Faruk Hanedar

ISTANBUL (AA) – Dutch Ambassador to Türkiye Joep Wijnands swam across the Istanbul Strait on Sunday to raise awareness about a relief campaign organized for the victims of the Feb. 6 twin earthquakes centered in the southern Turkish province of Kahramanmaras.​​​​​​​

Wijnands crossed the strait as part of the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim Race.

Speaking to Anadolu, the ambassador expressed his government’s desire to do whatever it can for the quake victims.

“As a result of the national campaign, 150 million euros ($163 million) were raised for the earthquake victims. But we also wanted to do something as an embassy in Türkiye,” he said, recalling Dutch support for those in need of assistance following the twin quakes.

"What happened is very, very tragic. I have been in the earthquake zone several times, and it was really heartbreaking to see what happened.”

Wijnands emphasized that the most important thing is to keep assisting those people.

“That's what my government is doing. We also want to do this by participating in this swimming race,” he added.

Conveying his gratitude to the event’s organizers, Wijnands called on everyone to take part in such projects.

On Feb. 6, magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 Turkish provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa. More than 50,000 people were killed.

Around 14 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the quakes as well as many others in northern Syria.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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