Turkish Red Crescent to aid 10M in Ramadan, head says

Turkish Red Crescent to aid 10M in Ramadan, head says

Aid agency devotes great part of its operations to needy people in Turkey this year due to global coronavirus pandemic

By Faruk Zorlu

ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish Red Crescent aims to reach 10 million people both in Turkey and across the globe during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as the novel coronavirus continues its grip worldwide.

In a video conference on aid to be distributed during Ramadan, Kerem Kinik, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent, told reporters: "This year, we allocated a large part of our operations for needy in Turkey" due to the coronavirus pandemic, unlike previous years.

However, the aid body will also reach lots of areas suffering from poverty, war and natural natural disasters around the world, he added.

The Turkish Red Crescent will deliver food packages to half a million people in 16 countries across the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Rakhine, and Senegal in Ramadan, Kinik elaborated.

This year, the fasting month of Ramadan is to start on April 24 and will end on May 23.

Last year, the Turkish Red Crescent reached 38 countries and and 400 areas in Turkey during Ramadan, Kinik said.

"This year our total budget for Ramadan aid is 207 million Turkish liras ($30.2 million)."

The agency will deliver food aid to 610,000 families, about 2.5 million people, in Turkey, he said, adding the aid will be distributed both in cash and in-kind.

He went on to say: "This year, we will also send a code to those in need via text messages for grocery shopping with codes in related shops during Ramadan."

Besides food packages, and face masks and sanitizers produced by the aid body, the Turkish Red Crescent will also organize 3 million iftar, fast-breaking, meals to those who stay at home for different causes in Turkey, the chief underlined.

Also, the agency will deliver iftar meals to 4,000 healthcare staff who will be working in hospitals to fight the pandemic during Ramadan.

Additionally, it will deliver personal care packs and sanitizers to 550,000 families, and provide 400 Turkish liras ($58) per month for 215,000 families in Turkey during Ramadan.

After first appearing in China in late last year, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 1.99 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 127,500 and over 500,000 recoveries.

Turkey has confirmed 1,403 fatalities from the coronavirus while the number of cases has passed 65,000.

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