By Andac Hongur, Seyit Ahmet Aytac
Heading into 2018, the Turkish Red Crescent aims to deliver humanitarian aid to over 31 million people next year, the group’s chairman said on Wednesday.
“The Turkish Red Crescent will continue to help needy and oppressed people around the world in 2018,” Kerem Kinik told reporters in Istanbul, reviewing the group’s activities in 2017 and plans for the year to come.
“We have a four billion Turkish lira [$1.05 billion] budget for 2018. We hope to reach 46 million people around the world. We also aim to deliver humanitarian aid to over 31 million needy people," Kinik said.
“One of our main goals is to reach 10 million Turkish citizens and provide them with education programs in 2018,” he added.
Kinik said the Red Crescent helped almost one million disaster victims in Turkey and its teams gave aid at 32 national disasters this year.
“We have received 225 million liras [$60 million] worth of donations from our 1.6 million donors. We thank them so much, that’s why we should keep working hard,” Kinik said.
“Nearly 2.4 million people have donated blood to the Red Crescent in 2017, and there were 274,000 stem cell donations. We aim to reach 2.5 million blood donations in 2018,” he added.
In 2017, the Turkish Red Crescent provided aid to 13 million needy people in 46 countries around the world. Its overseas humanitarian aid totaled 532 million liras ($140 million).
"We delivered 400 million liras [$105 million] worth of humanitarian aid to the Syrians victimized by the horrors of war," Kinik said.
Kinik said that in 2018, together with Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), they plan to build prefabricated houses in Bangladesh for 125,000 Rohingya Muslims.
Over 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh since late August, fleeing a military operation that has seen security forces and Buddhist mobs kill men, women, and children, loot homes, and torch Rohingya villages.
"The Turkish Red Crescent now has permanent representatives in Somalia, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Yemen in order to lend a helping hand to the vulnerable people of those countries.
“We are building the largest disaster and humanitarian aid center in Gaza,” Kinik added.