The Straits Times | 17 February 2023
The outpouring of support in Singapore in response to the earthquake disaster in Turkey is a great example of humanity in action.
On Feb 8, the day after the Embassy of Turkey in Singapore called for in-kind donations, Singaporeans formed a long queue in front of the embassy from early morning to deliver aid packages.
The Marina Bay Fire Station, which offered to help on the same day, was soon overwhelmed by the number of aid packages.
The Black Hole Group and Rapsodo provided space in their buildings for donations too. Singapore police officers helped to control traffic and carry donations inside the buildings. Trucks sent the donations until after midnight to a warehouse provided by Experia Events to prepare the cargo for delivery to Turkey by Turkish Airlines aircraft.
From day one, members of the Turkish community, Singaporeans and expatriates, including from International SOS, volunteered to unpack, sort and repack the donation packages. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which had already deployed its Operation Lionheart contingent to Turkey for search and rescue efforts, provided its expertise in managing and coordinating this large-scale logistics operation.
SCDF officers and Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit members volunteered their own time and skills. Carton boxes and duct tape were supplied by KGS X Shalom Movers, Hellenic Association of Singapore (along with Greek pastries) and Sealed Air Corporation.
Ebenezer, AAK Logistics, and Chong Seng Brothers provided cargo transport, forklifts and trucks as well as experienced cargo handlers. Water and food were supplied by the Ismaili Council for the Far East and Mustafa Centre. The Turkish Airlines Cargo team, and their agencies in Singapore, made sure everything was done properly and also packed and loaded goods.
In the meantime, the Singapore Red Cross, United Nations Association of Singapore, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, non-governmental organisations Humanity Matters, Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation and Global Ehsan Relief, Taman Jurong Community Club, Jurong Community Centre, as well as the Ba’alwie and Sultan mosques, launched initiatives to extend in-kind and monetary donations.
There are too many heroes to be named one by one in the story of Singapore’s support to Turkey.
We managed to transport almost 35 tonnes of in-kind donations to Turkey in four days, with more than 60 tonnes to be sent.
The members of the Turkish community in Singapore are deeply grateful to our friends and institutions here for enabling us to assist our compatriots in Turkey.
M. Burcin Gonenli Ambassador to Singapore Embassy of the Republic of Turkey