2.7 million people remain displaced in Turkey following devastating quakes: UNICEF

(Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

Around 2.7 million people remain internally displaced in Turkey following devastating earthquakes that hit the south of the country in early February, UNICEF Turkey said, ReliefWeb reported.

According to UNICEF Turkey an estimated 2.3 million people have been identified as living in formal and informal settlements across southern Turkey.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on February 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

Shelter, water sanitation facilities, healthcare, protection (including mental health and psychosocial support) and continuity of learning remain priority needs, according to UNICEF Turkey.

UNICEF earlier said some 2.5 million children need urgent humanitarian assistance in southern Turkey, while more than 3.7 million children have been affected by the earthquakes across Syria.

As of March 24 UNICEF has a funding gap of over $138 million (71%) against the funding requirement of $196 million to reach 3 million people, including 1.5 million children.

According to relief organizations the impact of the earthquakes will be felt for months and years to come.

The damage in Turkey alone could amount to over $100 billion and $14.8 billion in Syria, the UN said and launched a $1 billion funding appeal to support millions of people in Turkey.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier said in a statement that the funds would provide humanitarian relief for three months to 5.2 million people. The money would “allow aid organizations to rapidly scale up vital support,” including in the areas of food security, protection, education, water and shelter, he added.

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