“Syria needs more”: the Roath businessman desperate to get aid to harder to reach areas

Hassan Kaya started collecting two weeks ago but is struggling to get hundreds of donations shipped off to Turkey and Syria to help with Earthquake relief.

A Turkish businessman running a donation centre in Roath is struggling to get hundreds of donations shipped to hard-to-reach areas.

So far, Hassan Kaya, General Manager of International Food Centre on City Road, has collected hundreds of boxes full of clothes, blankets, tents and food.

He said that he decided to open his donation centre after hearing about how his family’s lives were changed irreversibly.

“My family lost their houses. It was very heartbreaking. We couldn’t get hold of them. Those were very stressful days and weeks for us.”

He wants greater focus to be placed on Syria which has struggled with accessing help due to problems on the border.

“Turkey is often in the centre of people’s minds. We don’t want people to forget about Syria as they need more so we are trying to get as much we can.

“There’s a lot of Turkish people in Europe and so we all first thought of Turkey. But little by little, we began to think that Syria needs our help.

“We have tried to contact so many people- Turkish Embassy, Turkish and British charity groups but we need to make sure the donations go to the right place.”

Despite Hassan’s individual challenges, larger organisations are also finding it hard to get things into the more harder-to- reach areas. Many mosques in Cardiff are using transit vans to directly transport items to the regions, but the process has become slow.

The donation centre on City Road in Roath

The Syrian Civil War has meant that infrastructure in the country is severely damaged. Furthermore, opposition groups control many of the most affected regions.

The UN say that despite borders being hard to cross, they are still being able to get aid across the border from Turkey to Syria. Seventeen trucks were reported to have reached Syria on Wednesday last week.

However, Amal Hallak, a Syrian researcher and activist, believes that global organisations need to step up so that Syria can be helped more.

She told CJS News; “Because of the [Syrian] government’s cruelty on how they treat its people, the UN and international community are using it as an excuse to do the least minimum.

“The issues on the border are very big and as a result, many families are now resorting to using quite costly money transferring websites to get financial aid over there.

“I know the UN have lifted the ban on sanctions for six months to help with humanitarian aid but this is not enough. The process of helping loved ones is very very tough.”