CAIRO: There is no need for any additional wheat imports in the short or medium term, Egypt’s Supply Minister Ali Al-Moselhi said during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to follow up on the provision of basic commodities in local markets.
Madbouly said the government is intensifying work to continue providing a strategic reserve of basic commodities, especially wheat.
“(We are) providing the financial funds required for the Ministry of Supply to quickly pay the dues of farmers who will supply the wheat crop during next April, while giving them the necessary incentives in this regard,” he added.
“The government … is closely monitoring current developments at the global level, and the turmoil it is witnessing due to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions … especially the shortage of a number of goods and the rise in prices worldwide.”
Last year, Russia accounted for 69.4 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports, while Ukraine accounted for 10.7 percent.
Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had previously said the rise in wheat prices in global markets would lead to an increase in the cost of Egypt’s imports of this commodity.
Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said Egypt is working on a plan to import wheat from other regions instead of Russia and Ukraine. Egypt has 14 countries approved to supply wheat, some of them outside Europe, he added.
“Egypt has a strategic stock of wheat approaching 5 million tons in silos or mills, and local wheat will join them starting from next April 15, to suffice the stock for a period of nine months,” Saad said.
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world. The government expects wheat imports to decline from 5.5 million tons in 2021 to 5.3 million this year due to growth in domestic production.
UK man travels 3,000 km to childhood home in Turkiye rescue bid
Ahmat Yilmaz made journey after his brother died in Monday’s earthquakes
‘It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen this before. I’m really shocked’
Updated 14 sec ago
LONDON: A man from South Wales in the UK has traveled more than 3,000 km to Turkiye in an effort to search for his family after Monday’s deadly earthquakes.
Ahmat Yilmaz was discovered by a Sky News team at an airport in Turkiye’s Adiyaman province.
He said he was traveling to search for family members who are still buried under rubble, and was making the trip to his childhood home in Tut village after hearing that his brother Ali had died in the earthquakes.
Reporters offered to drive Yilmaz to the remote village, which is located on a treacherous mountain road.
Upon arrival, he was greeted by his sister Fara and niece Sidka, who are likely the only surviving members of his family in the country.
Standing in front of his destroyed childhood home, Yilmaz said the building had once been “full of joy and love.”
He added: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen this before. I’m really shocked. I’ve never seen this happen before in my life ... never.”
Turkiye has said about 13.5 million people were affected by the earthquakes across a 450-km area.
Kuwaiti ministry supports efforts by 30 charities to aid victims of quake in Turkiye
Social Affairs Minister Mai Al-Baghli ordered all government agencies to cooperate so that relief supplies can be delivered as quickly as possible
Updated 17 min 55 sec ago
KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Community Development is supporting the work of 30 charities and agencies in the country that are involved in a nationwide campaign for donations to help the victims of the Turkiye earthquake, officials said.
Ministry spokesperson Ahmad Al-Enezi said the Defense Ministry has been asked to provide a plane to transport emergency aid to Turkiye, the Kuwait News Agency reported on Wednesday.
He added that the social affairs minister, Mai Al-Baghli, ordered all government agencies to fully cooperate and integrate with the aid effort to ensure the relief supplies can be delivered as quickly as possible and alleviate the suffering of the those affected by the disaster, including Syrian refugees in Turkiye.
More than 11,000 people were killed and thousands injured when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks caused devastating damage in parts of southeastern Turkiye and northern Syria in the early hours of Monday.
Erdogan condemns criticism of Turkiye’s quake response
“This is a time for unity, solidarity. In a period like this, I cannot stomach people conducting negative campaigns for political interest,” Erdogan said
Updated 16 min 49 sec ago
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday condemned criticism of the government’s response to devastating earthquakes that have killed more than 11,000 people in southern Turkiye and northwest Syria.
“This is a time for unity, solidarity. In a period like this, I cannot stomach people conducting negative campaigns for political interest,” he told reporters on his arrival in the southern province of Hatay.
He said it was not possible to be prepared for such a disaster, but that the government would accelerate rubble removal and housing construction. The death toll in Turkiye had risen to 9,057, he added.
Turkiye, Syria rescue hopes fading amid anger over disaster response
Only 2-3% of collapsed buildings reached by rescuers, sources tell Arab News
Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief opens air bridge to bring medicine, food to survivors
Updated 42 min 17 sec ago
ANKARA: Hopes of rescuing survivors trapped under rubble by Monday’s earthquake are fading in southern Turkiye, sources told Arab News, as anger mounts over the official response to the disaster.
Authorities have only reached 2-3 percent of collapsed buildings in some affected areas, sources said.
The final death toll from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkiye and neighboring Syria could exceed 20,000, the World Health Organization warned.
Officials said on Wednesday that 8,574 people had died in Turkiye and 2,662 in Syria, bringing the official death toll to 11,236.
A similar earthquake in the region in 1999 killed at least 17,000 people.
Though several babies and refugee children have been saved from the rubble in high-profile rescues, hopes of finding large numbers of survivors are fading with each passing day.
A US-based NGO, Global Empowerment Mission, mobilized about $10 million of relief aid in the past 24 hours for earthquake victims.
On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited affected regions to inspect quake damage and speak to survivors.
“Initially, 10,000 Turkish liras ($500) will be allocated to each citizen affected by the earthquake,” he said.
In the wake of the disaster, search and rescue workers, as well as medics, have arrived in Turkiye and Syria from all corners of the globe.
Turkish municipalities have deployed hundreds of their own rescue personnel.
Though domestic rescue efforts have been criticized as insufficient by local residents, the rapid international response to the disaster has been praised.
Saudi Arabia’s leadership directed the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center to operate an air bridge, bringing medical supplies, shelter, food and logistical assistance to victims.
A UN emergency fund allocated $25 million to the humanitarian response in the region.
Despite a growing diplomatic crisis between Greece and Turkiye, Greek TV opened a morning news session with images and videos from the quake zone, with lyrics from a folk song in the background saying: “I let the whole world know that I love you.”
Several refugee children were also rescued by firefighters and mine workers on Tuesday, while a “miracle” newborn baby was dragged from rubble in northern Syria.
Turkiye’s Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants has sent a team of 300 workers and volunteers to Antakya and Hatay, as well as translators and rescue dogs. Migrant survivors will be offered psychological support through the association.
Baris Sakir, an Urfa resident, survived the quake thanks to the modern design of his home.
“However, there are still some cracks inside the house and we don’t have the courage to go back inside. We are now living in the fine arts school where I was teaching piano lessons. My little son still faces post-trauma,” he told Arab News.
Restaurants and hotels are offering free meals and accommodation to those left homeless by the earthquake, with Turkish celebrities and municipalities sending food containers to locals as well as paying for their accommodation.
Meanwhile, Istanbul municipality intervened to stop a fire in Iskenderun port on Wednesday, while Ankara municipality started repairs on damaged Hatay airport. Communication channels have been significantly disrupted by the quake.
In Hatay, more than 2,000 buildings were destroyed, with just 2-3 percent being reached by rescuers, according to the latest reports.
Authorities have warned that growing numbers of rescued children have been left unaccompanied in local hospitals, with precautions being taken to prevent abductions.
“Nature gave us exactly 23 years after the 1999 earthquake,” said Cem Say, a prominent Turkish computer scientist, referring to the major quake in the country’s northwest in 1999.
Last year, Turkey spent about $1.3 billion on programs for disaster management — some 0.5 percent of central government budgetary spending. But experts have described the funding as insufficient.
Ismail Yolcu, a survivor of the earthquake in southeastern Adiyaman province, said that the homes of some relatives were completely destroyed.
He told Arab News: “There is no electricity. There is no heating. It is rainy and extremely cold. We are sleeping in the streets. We are waiting for the tents to be established. But the situation is terrible.”
Sermet Cuhadar, president of the Journalists Association in Kahramanmaras, said that the situation had “slightly improved” in the province.
“We had to drink melted ice because there was no water in the city. Our eight-storey building collapsed during the first quake. Fortunately I was not in the building at that time. Only three people were rescued,” he told Arab News.
Kamil Cuhadar, former mayor of Pazarcik village of Kahramanmaras, suffered a fractured skull during the first quake when a stone fell on his head.
“The supportive columns were strong in the building in Pazarcik. However, there is no standing building left in the village. The rescue efforts were insufficient.
“They began today in the early morning, but it is already too late. The weather is so cold, it was minus 7 degrees Celsius yesterday when everybody was lying on the streets.
“There is no sufficient equipment to remove the debris. There is no lifting instrument,” he told Arab News.
Naile Islek, from Dulkadiroglu village in Kahramanmaras, saw her neighbor’s home collapse during the quake, and ran to take shelter in her mother’s house.
“We have electricity but still no water. Some people who benefit from this chaos are selling small bottles of water at double and sometimes triple prices. We didn’t have enough equipment to remove the debris. Men could barely remove it with their hands,” she told Arab News.
Several municipalities from western Turkiye sent mobile kitchens and container pharmacies to the disaster zone, and launched programs to distribute biscuits, bread and medicine to survivors.
Several sources told Arab News that the immediate rescue efforts were “minimal,” but have intensified in the last two days.
Volunteers have attempted to fill the manpower gap, while several prominent activists as well as chefs have traveled to affected regions to help local residents.
Tent cities were established in several regions while commando forces were deployed to the earthquake zone to aid in rescue efforts.
In the wake of the disaster, Turkiye’s stock exchange also suspended trading for the first time in 24 years.
Defense ministers chart ‘new course’ in UAE-Italy relations
Guido Crosetto, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi met in Abu Dhabi
“Great openness was expressed by the Emirati defense minister,” Italian Defense Ministry source tells Arab News
Updated 08 February 2023
ROME: Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto met with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
An Italian Defense Ministry source told Arab News that the visit “marks a new course in defining and reinvigorating the relationship between Italy and the UAE, and the role both countries intend to play in the field of security in the region.”
The source added: “Great willingness and openness toward Italy was expressed by the Emirati defense minister.”
During a long meeting, both ministers pledged “renewed engagement” to protect both countries’ mutual interests. The security situation in the Middle East was also discussed.
According to the Italian Defense Ministry, Crosetto and Al-Bowardi share “a common vision on the new challenges in the regional geostrategic scenario.”
Crosetto offered, on behalf of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s “full cooperation” with the UAE.
Crosetto laid a wreath at the Martyrs’ Monument in the presence of Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al-Nahyan, executive director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office. Italy’s Ambassador to the UAE Lorenzo Fanara attended the ceremony.
Crosetto also met with Tareq Al-Hosani, CEO of the Tawazun Economic Council — the procurement agency of the UAE Armed Forces — and Faisal Al-Bannai, CEO and managing director of the Edge Group.