Largest ever AUSTRALIAN SMARTAID shipment arrives in TÜRKIYE
WORDS: Willa Webster PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
Turkish Consul General, Mr. Ali Savim and his team, Sydney’s Turkish community and other volunteers including SmartAID Global Goodwill Ambassador Alethea Gold and film maker, Rachel Ward, together with other volunteers recently packed and dispatched 21 pallets of emergency aid thanks to the generosity of the Australian people, and donors including MedEarth, Katmandu, Solar Buddy and DHL who airfreighted the entire shipment on their plane.
SmartAID received special permission from the Turkish Government to clear customs immediately, ensuring that these emergency supplies went door to door and were not held up in a distribution warehouse in Turkey, avoiding delay of up to 6 weeks. Mr. Savim and senior DHL representatives were present with Alethea and the SmartAID volunteers at an emotional farewell as the shipment departed for Türkiye. SmartAID where the first responders on site with a team of 25 professional search and rescue, who volunteered for over two weeks.
“It was an incredible collaborative achievement that will have an immediate impact on the lives of those who have survived this devastating earthquake” says Alethea Gold. “Beneficiaries include those currently admitted to the Mustafa Kemal University Hospital (MKUH) in Hatay, and victims staying in a camp called ‘Container City’ urgently set up in Adiyaman. Sadly, there are now horrific floods in this city.
The DHL air freight arrived within 4 days and was distributed over the weekend. The shipment included 11 pallets donated by MedEarth containing vital medical supplies and 8 pallets containing blankets, sleeping bags, tents, solar lights with phone chargers & water filters (donated by Solar Buddy) and baby clothes (donated by CuddleBuddle) DHL generously covered all air freight costs.
The goods were received by HMKU Chief Physician Prof. Dr. Onur Koyuncu.
“The consecutive earthquakes that started on February 6 affected 11 provinces, including Hatay. Hatay is the city with the greatest damage in the region as a result of these earthquakes.” he says. “In this process, Hatay Mustafa Kemal University hospital referred approximately 2,500 injured, 650 pre-existing and 600 existing patients in the first 72 hours after the earthquake. As HMKU, we are grateful to all our friends who were with us in healing the wounds of the people of Hatay in the post-earthquake period.”
Alethea Gold who is based in Sydney will be heading to Turkey shortly, to do what she does best.
After 35 years in fashion working globally as a fashion stylist, fashion editor, and more, she now volunteers full time with SmartAID and works in disaster zones around the globe. Recently she’s spent time working in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and with the fires on Kangaroo Island, Bahamas after the hurricane, spent time pulling people off boats in Lesbos, worked in refugee camps with Yazidis after their genocide by ISIS, and more, handed out aid after Tsunami in Indonesia, helped families get out of Afghanistan when the Taliban took over, and more.
SmartAID is a non-religious, non-political, non-governmental international humanitarian aid organisation (NGO) fighting global poverty and economic inequality. Established in 2017, the organisation provides international humanitarian aid and disaster relief by delivering innovative technology to the field. Operating with over 30 years of experience, SmartAID partners with local NGOs and governments, as well as entrepreneurs, starts-ups and manufacturers, as well as the business community, impact investment community, local governments, donors and academics to create, adapt and/or fund technological solutions and programs developed specifically to solve humanitarian challenges.
By bridging the gap between the technology and the aid world, SmartAID is helping to simplify humanitarian relief efforts. SmartAID does this through providing telecommunications, energy and other essential services and products which allow other local NGOs to work safely and effectively to save lives when disasters strike. Their mission is to work responsibly and effectively to harness the power of innovation and technology to save lives, alleviate suffering and empower communities to live the kind of life they value.
SmartAID is headed by the Founder, Shachar Zahavi, who has over 30 years of experience working in disaster zones. “We all have the same goal – to make a difference one human at a time, and if it reaches thousands even better!” says Shachar.
SmartAID specializes in filling the gaps that the bigger aid agencies either can’t, or don’t, by using different technologies that simplify, improve and expand first responder’s aid. The SmartAID Team remain on the ground responding to the urgent needs of the people in Türkiye.