SINGAPORE: At an industrial building in MacPherson on Thursday, 9 members of the public steadily turned up with winter clothing, blankets, diapers, baby food, sanitary products and other supplies in tow. Some started to help sort through the items, which soon occupied the building entrance. Many people also arrived in cars with boxes of supplies - all for the victims of the deadly earthquakes that struck T rkiye and Syria on Monday. More than 17,000 people have been killed in the quakes so far, surpassing the death toll from a similar earthquake in 1999. Thousands more are still being feared to be trapped under the rubble. Rescue efforts have been hampered by freezing temperatures and the destruction of transport routes.
The Turkish Embassy in Singapore first sought donations of items like winter clothing, tents, mattresses and food parcels to be dropped off at their premises along Shenton Way on Tuesday evening. When Singaporeans responded in overwhelming fashion within a day, the embassy redirected donations to the Jay Gee Melwani House at 10 Genting Lane, where the hospitality group The Black Hole Group is headquartered. After the embassy became too packed, the company opened its space to receive donations around noon on Thursday. Crowds of donors and volunteers had formed at the entrance of the building when CNA arrived around 4 pm. Boxes and packages lined the stairs leading up to the foyer, which was also jam-packed with items. Volunteers then moved the donations to The Black Hole Group's office space on the 6th floor where they were sorted into different categories for their eventual transport to the airport. Transport trucks rolled in and out, while others parked their vehicles at a nearby open-air space or the petrol station next door, before walking over with their items. CNA spotted two police officers helping to control traffic flow outside the building.
Mr Ramani Anantharaman, 42, had taken time off to help out with the donation drive. He returned home with bags of winter clothing and a huge Redmart order of diapers and baby food from his wife, friends and colleagues. The scientist from the Health Sciences Authority said I learned about this from social media and thought I could do my part. A lawyer who wanted to be known as Mr Tay, 60, said he was about to go to the SGX Centre 1 Building, where the Turkish Embassy is located when he learned of the new donation space. He said that his neighbours had given him some winter clothing to donate as well as a result of the outpouring of support.
Ms Nadia Ng, 34, pooled together some money with a group of other mothers to buy fleece jackets at Decathlon, a sporting goods retailer. The mother-of-two told CNA she had seen videos of children being pulled from the rubble in Turkiye. This is nice and not unexpected to me. She said that Singaporeans, they have really big hearts, gesturing to the stacks of supplies. The outpouring of support was something out of the blue for Calvin Seah, co-founder of The Black Hole Group. The 38-year-old said his firm had expected a table full of donations. When they opened their space, it quickly became packed with people and cars. Staff helped with donations and stopped their work. Seah said police officers who turned up to manage the traffic situation also started to help carry things. This probably looks like a lot but it is barely enough for the people in Turkiye he said. We get calls from people asking how they can help, asking if they can volunteer, what time they can come over.