International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) Chairman and Amiri Diwan's Advisor Abdullah Al-Maatouq on Friday opened the Kuwaiti-funded "Humanitarian Leader" village in the eastern Turkish city of Van.
In 2011, a destructive earthquake hit the city, located on the eastern shore of Lake Van. It has a long history as a major urban area.
The IICO built the village at the behest of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to help victims of the quake, Al-Maatouq, who is also the UN Secretary-General's Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs, told the launching ceremony.
He added that the "Humanitarian Leader " village project was financed by the State of Kuwait and supported by Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation. The village was set up on two phases, the first of which included prefab houses to provide rapid shelters for the people afflicted by the quake.
The second stage includes four apartment blocks with 64 flats, he said.
Al-Maatouq highlighted the historical Kuwaiti-Turkish ties "which offer a role model for international relations," saying the Van village implies keenness by the Kuwaiti government to boost them.
For his part, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Turkey Abdullah Al-Thuwaikh said the humanitarian project embodies the decade-long bilateral relations.
He highlighted the UN honoring of His Highness the Amir as a "Humanitarian Leader" and Kuwait as a "Humanitarian Center", paying tribute to the IICO Chairman and board members for the quick response to the mayhem of the quake victims.
Al-Thuwaikh stressed the wide Kuwaiti investments in Turkey, both official and private.
Kuwait has always been in the vanguard of the countries responding to relief calls and has had a leading role in the humanitarian projects in Turkey, Van Governor Aydin Nezih Dogan said. He expressed gratitude to His Highness the Amir, referring to the good relations between the two countries.
Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation Chairman Bulent Yldrm expressed gratitude to His Highness the Amir and the Kuwaiti people for their help to assist the victims of the Van quake, saying the city includes Turkish and Kurdish citizens.
Yldrm offered Al-Maatouq a souvenir in appreciation of his efforts in setting up the Van "Humanitarian Leader" village. Turkish officials and members of the visiting Kuwaiti delegation took part in the inauguration ceremony.
Meanwhile, many of Van inhabitants expressed their gratitude to His Highness the Amir and the Kuwaiti people for the humanitarian village, which helped them find a shelter.
"I lost my husband in the quake that hit the region in late 2011, and I have five children. I cannot afford a new house," an old Turkish woman told KUNA. She said that the new village will help her care a lot. Many others expressed their deep gratitude to His Highness the Amir and Kuwait, wishing the country a flourishing future, safety and security. The Kuwaiti delegation then left to the southern Turkish town of Kilis near the borders with Syria where they visited a Kuwaiti-financed model village set up for the Syrian refugees, with 1,000 mobile houses, four schools, two mosques and two medical centers.