By Hamza Kyeyune
KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) - Many in Uganda are observing the usually festive season with a low vibe this Ramadan.
Muslims generally break their daily fast, or iftar, in big crowds with large meals at different mosques. But that tradition has dwindled.
Many Turkish charities that have been hosting large crowds for iftar are ramping up efforts to send much-needed relief supplies to earthquake survivors.
Others have been delivering charitable food boxes to hundreds of poor families across the country, but this is also subdued.
When you ask many about the holy month and if they are celebrating, they tell you they are currently observing it.
Disastrous earthquakes that jolted Türkiye turned the tables and most Turkish charities that Anadolu spoke to in Uganda said they are focused on emergency aid at home. The humanitarian crisis, which has affected millions of survivors, has reached terrible dimensions.
"It is heartbreaking but we have to come to terms with the fact that circumstances have made it more difficult for the Turkish brothers to support us this Ramadan. We must accept it,” Sulayman Mubarak, a porter from Kibuli, a Kampala suburb, told Anadolu.
Many casual laborers in Kampala suburbs that Anadolu spoke to had been looking forward to iftars at the national mosque to keep hunger at bay.
The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), another prominent Turkish charity, has yet to distribute Ramadan relief items in Uganda.
“Our big part of Ramadan is about charity work, and we have lots of activities lined up but our focal point is the earthquake-affected areas,” IHH’s official in charge for East and Southern Africa, Muhammet Emin Esmer, told Anadolu.
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) coordinator in Uganda, Omer Aykon, told Anadolu that the agency hopes to provide food and essential items to disadvantaged communities in Uganda but it is currently mobilizing to boost humanitarian aid to communities in earthquake-affected areas.
Diyanet, Türkiye's Directorate of Religious Affairs, said it is currently stepping up support to address immediate needs in affected areas and promote recovery.
“We would wish to support Ugandans as much as possible like we have previously done, but due to the catastrophe, our main focus is much more about supporting earthquake survivors,” a Diyanet official in Kampala told Anadolu.
Türkiye is still struggling with the effects of last month's earthquakes. More than 50,000 people have died. Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed and thousands of people are scattered in tent camps or other temporary housing.
Uganda sent 13 tons of aid supplies to Türkiye.