A new app launched by the İstanbul Municipality whereby donors can help those in need pay their water and natural gas bills has received 8,691 requests for bill payment over a span of 24 hours, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.
The app is powered by the municipality’s website and allows people to submit their bills so that donors can cover them.
Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu tweeted on Tuesday that the bills submitted thus far amount to TL 1,990,000 ($281,000) and that donors can start paying them on Wednesday.
Municipal donation campaigns to ease the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have recently caused a rift between the central government and municipalities, particularly those held by the opposition such as İstanbul and Ankara.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a nationwide solidarity campaign while his interior ministry prevented municipalities from collecting such donations. The state-owned Vakıfbank blocked the İstanbul Municipality’s accounts.
Since the controversy, opposition-led municipalities have been developing alternative methods for action during the outbreak.