The executive director of the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) visited the Turkish province of Gaziantep on Saturday following twin earthquakes that hit the southern region of the country.
Maimunah Mohd Sharif, accompanied by Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan, Environment Minister Murat Kurum and Minister of Family and Social Services Derya Yanik visited container cities in the Nurdagi and İslahiye districts and talked to victims.
Sharif said she came to offer condolences, solidarity and hope to victims.
She thanked Erdogan for bringing her to the quake zone and said: “I came here personally to witness the catastrophe. I can watch it from YouTube, I can watch it from TV but I decided to come here personally.”
She noted that she was the mayor of Penang in Malaysia that was hit by a massive tsunami in 2014 and the city was flooded in 2017.
“I already sent my colleagues to two places that I visited today. They just sent me a report last night. I came here to see personally.”
Sharif said she took suggestions given by victims and will work to offer the best support.
She said she is happy to see the response of the government to the disaster, adding that victims now have tents or containers.
“I am happy to see all of you but sad that you lost your loved ones. My solidarity and my sadness are with you. My prays are always with you,” she said.
Twin earthquakes on Feb. 6 have claimed more than 44,200 lives and affected more than 13 million people.