The UN has launched a new $400 million appeal for Syrians and is now asking for money for the Turkish aid effort.
Only two days after making a $400 million plea for Syrians, the UN has made a request for more than $1 billion to support the relief efforts for the Turkish earthquake victims.
Martin Griffiths, the head of UN relief efforts and a recent visitor to Turkey, said on Thursday that the people had “faced indescribable heartache,” adding that “we must stand with them in their darkest hour and ensure they receive the care they need.”
At least 36,187 people have died as a result of the earthquake that occurred on February 6 in southern Turkey, while 5,800 people have died in neighboring Syria, according to authorities there.
Rescue operations have resumed in Turkey, but fewer people are being saved every day.
More than ten days after a deadly earthquake struck the country, a teenage girl was discovered alive among the ruins in the province of Kahramanmaras on Thursday. But these kinds of rescues are becoming less frequent.
248 hours after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the dark of night on February 6 the 17-year-old was successfully rescued from the rubble of a collapsed apartment building, according to broadcaster TRT Haber.
Families who are still searching for their missing loved ones are becoming increasingly incensed at what they see to be dishonest construction methods and seriously defective urban planning that led to the collapse of hundreds of homes and businesses. More than 100 people, including developers, have been ordered detained by Turkey, which has committed to look into anyone suspected of being responsible for the collapse of structures.
The earthquake struck Syria, where a 12-year civil war had torn apart and decimated the country. According to the Syrian government, 1,414 people have died in areas under its control. In the rebel-held northwest, more than 4,000 people have died, but rescuers claim that since February 9 no one has been discovered alive there.
The violence has slowed down the relief effort, and many people in the northwest feel abandoned as supplies nearly always go to other areas of the vast disaster zone.
As a United Nations route was briefly blocked, deliveries from Turkey were completely stopped in the early aftermath of the earthquake. Days following the tragedy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave his assent for the opening of two more crossings earlier this week.
A representative for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters that as of Thursday, 119 UN trucks had passed through the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam border crossings between Turkey and Syria since the earthquake.
Afrin, a Syrian town held by rebels, has received a convoy of 15 Qatari relief trucks carrying tents, food, and other necessities. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Jagan Chapagain declared that his organization would increase its humanitarian request for both countries by more than three times, predicting that the crisis would last for a long time.
He added in Beirut, while traveling from Syria to Turkey, “Its impact on people will not be done in three months, so we are having a 24-month perspective.”
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stated in a report released on Thursday that the economic effects of the earthquake in Turkey could cause a loss of up to one percent of the nation’s gross domestic product this year.