DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar plans to send 10,000 cabins and caravans from last year’s World Cup to provide shelter for survivors of the Turkish earthquakes, officials said.
The gas-rich Gulf nation says it had always planned to donate the mobile homes. They were needed to help house some of the 1.4 million fans who descended on the small country during soccer’s biggest tournament.
An initial batch of 350 structures was shipped out on Sunday, the Qatar Fund for Development said.
The magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 quakes that struck nine hours apart on Feb. 6 killed more than 35,000 people in southeastern Turkey and war-torn northern Syria. The toll is expected to climb even further as search and rescue teams find more bodies.
Tens of thousands of buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving millions homeless. As shelters filled up in the days after the quake many were forced to sleep outside in wet, wintry weather.
Qatar and other wealthy Gulf countries have joined the global effort to send rescuers and aid to the stricken region. The United Arab Emirates has pledged $100 million for relief efforts. Saudi Arabia has dispatched eight planes loaded with supplies to Turkey and Syria.
The eighth Saudi flight landed in government-held Aleppo, in northern Syria, on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia was a strong supporter of the opposition at the height of Syria’s civil war and — unlike other Arab countries — has shown little interest in any rapprochement with President Bashar Assad.