The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on Thursday that it had so far collected more than $18 million in donations by local contributors for a fund to be distributed to lower-income residents whose lives have been negatively affected by measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus across the autonomous region.
The ongoing campaign was first announced by the KRG on March 20 under the name “We are stronger together,” days after the KRG extended and expanded the strict curfew across the Kurdistan Region to prevent the spread of the pandemic in the region.
The measure, which requires people to stay at home with few exceptions, has negatively affected all levels of society but has been a particular cause of hardship for those with more meager incomes, such as laborers who depend on daily wages for immediate needs.
On Tuesday, the KRG extended the curfew yet again as the number of coronavirus cases continued to increase.
According to the list of contributors to the special fund that has been published by the KRG, Baz Karim, the CEO of the Erbil-based Kar Group engineering and construction firm, currently tops the list with a total of $4.7 million in donations presented.
On March 17, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani announced he would donate his salary and other financial entitlements to low-income families.
Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and all other regional ministers followed suit on Wednesday by deciding to offer half of their wages and bonuses for the next two months during a virtual cabinet meeting that focused on the economic impact of the pandemic.
The organizers of the ongoing campaign hope to raise some $200 million in total donations, according to a source from the government.