EU pledges 1 billion euros for Turkey’s earthquake reconstruction

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks during an International Donors Conference for Turkey and Syria after the earthquake which hit the two countries, at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 20, 2023. John THYS / AFP

The EU’s executive arm will provide 1 billion euros to help Turkey rebuild after devastating earthquakes last month, Agence France-Presse reported, citing European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

Von der Leyen told a donor conference that Brussels would also provide 108 million euros ($115 million) for humanitarian assistance in neighboring Syria.

Last month’s catastrophic 7.8 and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes flattened entire cities, killing more than 50,000 people across southeastern Turkey and parts of war-torn Syria.

Millions were displaced, and a preliminary estimate from the United Nations says the damage in Turkey alone could amount to over $100 billion.

The United Nations Development Programme complained earlier this month about the poor level of response to a call made in mid-February for urgent funding.

Aid organization International Rescue Committee (IRC) urged donors to at least ensure the UN’s emergency appeal for $1 billion for Turkey and $397 million for Syria are fully funded.

The UN says the appeal for Turkey has so far only been 16 percent fulfilled, while the figure for Syria stands at 72 percent.

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