Qatar donates World Cup cabins to quake-hit Turkey & Syria

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Qatar will send Turkey and Syria 10,000 cabins and caravans used during the World Cup, which would now house people who lost their homes in a devastating earthquake, Qatari officials said Sunday.

The United Nations has said millions may be in need of help after the 7.8-magnitude quake early Monday that has killed at least 33,000 and flattened entire neighbourhoods in both countries.

“In view of the urgent needs in Turkey and Syria, we have taken the decision to ship our cabins and caravans to the region, providing much needed and immediate support to the people of Turkey and Syria,” a Qatari official told AFP.

The mobile homes were used for a few weeks when Qatar hosted the football World Cup last year. Officials have indicated after the tournament they would be donated.

The first shipment is set to leave Doha port for Turkey on Monday, with further deliveries expected in the coming days, Qatari officials said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The Gulf state’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, visited Turkey on Sunday, the first foreign leader to do so since last week’s quake.

He stayed away from the affected zones, holding talks in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on ways Doha could help “mitigate this disaster”, the emir said in a tweet.

Qatar has one of the biggest foreign rescue teams in Turkey, with about 130 people on the ground. It has also sent 100 tonnes in aid.

The two countries have built increasingly strong ties in recent years.

Even before the quake, Qatar had agreed to inject billions of dollars into the struggling Turkish economy and invested in shopping malls and infrastructure projects.

Erdogan has been criticised at home over the government response to the earthquake.