Paying a neighbour’s bill: Istanbul’s solidarity initiative

By Lara Villalón and Ilya U. Topper

Istanbul, May 12 (efe-epa).- Paying a neighbour’s bill is part of a solidarity campaign by Istanbul authorities in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the city’s mayor, told Efe that the initiative acts as a bridge between people who have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic and others who can help.

“People who need help send their bills. Of course they are first investigated and then after being accepted they are posted on the web,” he added

“Citizens who want to help go to the page, choose the bill and pay it online.”

Since the website was launched by the city council a week ago around 230,000 bills have been posted and 109,000 have been paid, totalling almost $2 million.

There are around 120,000 still waiting but this figure has been falling by the minute, according to the mayor.

The bills are for water and gas and only the amount to be paid is shown, mostly between $20 and $50.

Recipients are anonymous and no details are shared about who is being helped by the scheme.

“The most correct thing to do when helping is that the person asking for help does not know who has provided it,” Imamoglu said.

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