22 hospitals in Turkey, Syria damaged by devastating quakes: WHO


A total of 22 hospitals in Turkey and Syria were damaged by devastating earthquakes on February 6, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing on Wednesday.

According to Ghebreyesus, 15 hospitals have been damaged and numerous health facilities affected in Turkish provinces hit by the earthquakes, while seven hospitals and 145 health facilities have been damaged in northern Syria.

“With 26 million people affected by the earthquake, WHO launched a flash appeal for US$ 84.5 million to support the immediate health response efforts in both countries,” Ghebreyesus said, adding that the overall death toll is more than 47,000 in both countries.

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.

The UN launched a $1 billion funding appeal last Thursday 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.

WHO efforts in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes and the following days have focused on search and rescue, finding survivors among the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Other urgent work has been providing medical care for people with physical injuries and ensuring food, drinking water and shelter for all those who have lost their homes.

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