Devastating earthquakes in early February have displaced an estimated 2.7 million people in Turkey and exacerbated pre-existing food insecurity in Syria, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said, according to ReliefWeb.
USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to lead the US government’s response efforts in support of the Turkish government.
The earthquakes continue to generate significant humanitarian needs among affected populations in Turkey and neighboring Syria, USAID said.
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 US has sent rescue teams and contributed an initial $85 million in relief for Turkey and Syria, deploying helicopters to bring supplies to the worst-hit areas.
The UN 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.
UN humanitarian agencies will need $397.6 million in funding over the next three months to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs of 4.9 million people in Syria who have been affected by the quakes, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.