JOHANNESBURG

Turkey’s state-run aid agency distributed food hampers to hundreds of families here to help residents who are not working because of restrictions imposed due to the novel coronavirus.

“In this challenging times when the entire globe is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst mindful of the lockdown regulations we thought we should go from house to house to distribute the aid to vulnerable people in the spirit of Ramadan,’’ Mehmet Akif Sekerci, coordinator for the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) told Anadolu Agency.

Sekerci said TIKA partnered with local NGO’s in Johannesburg who know vulnerable families living in communities.

He said the food distribution would help Muslims who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan as well as needy non-Muslim families residing in Mayfair, about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the Johannesburg Central Business District.

Items included maize, flour and sugar, cooking oil and peanut butter, among others.

“This Ramadan would have been difficult for us if we had received this aid, because we have not been working since the lockdown,” a Mayfair resident who identified himself as Mohammed told Anadolu Agency.

Johannesburg Councilor Alex Christians thanked the Turkish government for the aid and generosity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are distributing your food parcels to the elderly homes in our area,’’ he said.

Last month TIKA provided a hospital in Cape Town with more than 10,000 N95 face masks to help health workers curb the spread of the virus.

TIKA has been operating in South Africa for more than two years and has completed several projects, including refurbishing hospitals, mosques and cultural centers.

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