Four Hungarian Hare Krishna devotees are to leave Budapest for Turkey early on Friday. They will distribute cooked food for the survivors in the most heavily damaged earthquake stricken area in Turkey, jointly with a local team of Turkish devotees.
With permission from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the devotees will travel to Antakya, Hatay province, where they will prepare cooked food in a truck converted into a mobile kitchen and they will distribute it locally. The simple, nourishing food will help feed the survivors as well as those participating in the rescue operations. Distribution will take place at a central location designated by the military authorities.
The first response to any natural disaster is to search for survivors and treat the wounded. In the meantime, the emergency infrastructure has to be set up. Looking after the survivors poses a challenge because in the disaster stricken area the infrastructure is destroyed, roads are hardly usable and those buildings that are still standing may collapse at any moment. In such a situation, the arrival of professionally equipped, experienced charity teams can be of immense help. They can provide stop gaps by supplying mentally and physically fresh human force and give tangible help to surviving people. Even though the place is unsafe, helping locally is important because the survivors cannot, or will not, leave the area as they are looking for their missing family members who may be waiting to be rescued under the rubble.
The food distribution mission takes off with the help of the Turkish subsidiary and support of the international transport and logistics company, DSV, which provides vehicles, food ingredients, utensils, drivers and interpreters as well as coordinators and volunteers to help the mission. Donations are arriving from such international companies that had helped earlier the aid mission the Hare Krishna Food for Life had provided for Ukraine.
The Hungarian team is led by Attila Szanyi-Karl, the experienced chairman of the food distribution foundation. Taking into account the circumstances, they will set up facilities to provide hundreds, or even thousands of portions of hot food daily. This mission will not affect the food distribution programme in Hungary – that will be carried on seamlessly by those staff members who are staying behind in Hungary. As usual, they are providing daily thousands of portions of hot food to Hungarians in need.
This is not the first time when Hungarian food aid distributors participate in feeding disaster stricken people. The Hare Krishna Food for Life programme was there in Sri Lanka after the tsunami, in Haiti after the earthquake, in Bosnia after the landslide, and also in Ukraine whereas in Hungary they assisted people at flood stricken areas, the victims of the Devecser mudslide, and were assisting waves of refugees. Even the COVID-19 pandemic could not stop their mission.
The Hare Krishna devotees express their heartfelt sympathies to the Turkish people, they offer their prayers for the casualties and for the rapid restoration of the survivors’ living conditions which they are helping with the food distribution. Such disaster situations are painful reminders of the transient nature of human life, therefore the devotees hope that they remind warring parties in various conflicts to stop hostilities the sooner the better.