Uighurs come together to help families impacted by the pandemic

Uighur children in Istanbul, Turkey

May 12, 2020

By Uighur Times

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in Wuhan and its quick spread around the world becoming a global pandemic has forced millions of people out of employment and caused economies of many countries to shut down or standstill. This has particularly hit those who were already in vulnerable circumstances harder. Thousands of Uighur refugees who had escaped from China’s persecution in their homeland East Turkistan and found refuge in Turkey were already complaining from economic hardship before the crisis hit. The spread of the Wuhan Virus in Turkey in March this year had made their situation even worse.

In order to address this critical issue and help the Uighur refugees who have been impacted by the pandemic, on March 26, 2020, more than 30 organizations led by the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) along with the East Turkestan Education and Cooperation Organization, the East Turkestan Union of Organizations, the East Turkestan Muslim Scholars Union, and the Uyghur Academy have set up East Turkistan Virus Crisis Relief Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

The center made it its mission to stay transparent, distribute the relief packages fairly, and reach out to everyone in need transcending personal relationships and political differences. Further, the center agreed to extend the aid to Uighurs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia who have also been affected by the crisis.

Uighurs around the world have greatly welcomed the initiative and the center raised more than a million Turkish Lira in a short amount of time. The center also appealed to other humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross and IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation.

Various organizations in Turkey and volunteers have taken the task of distributing the supplies and necessities to the families in need in Turkey. Dr. Omer Kul of the Isa Yusuf Alptekin Foundation gave a detailed account of this.

“The Virus Crisis Relief Center was established under the leadership of the World Uyghur Congress. We have prepared food, Ramadan aid packages, sanitation materials, and disinfectants in Turkey. We have assigned a group to distribute the packages in Istanbul, while another group worked to deliver aid in other parts of Turkey.” said Dr. Kul.

Uighur Times spoke to Turghunjan Alawuddin, the chairman of the Religious Affairs Committee of the World Uyghur Congress, who has also been assigned to head the relief center. 

“We are receiving donations from around the world. People are sending donations directly through organizations based in their countries which finally reach the relief center in Istanbul. The donations then converted into Turkish Lira to be distributed to those in need”.

Mr. Alawuddin said that emergency aid is being distributed to the people in Turkey at the moment and that the next task is to provide assistance to the Uighurs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.

Written by Habibulla Izchi for the Uighur Language Service of Uighur Times.

This news was published on the Uighur Times Uighur language website on May 5, 2020.

Translated into English by Uighur Times English Channel