EU to host donors conference on Syria, Turkey quake aid on March 16

(FILES) A file photo taken on April 24, 2009 shows the European Union flag and national flags in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

The European Union will host a donors conference in Brussels on March 16 to mobilize funds in support of people in Turkey and Syria affected by devastating earthquakes on February 6, according to a statement by the Swedish Presidency of Council of the EU.

“Member States remain committed to continuing providing coordinated assistance to those affected by the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, notably via the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism and by means of humanitarian assistance,” the statement 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.

Following the earthquakes €5.5 million in EU humanitarian aid was allocated to respond to the immediate needs of victims in Turkey. This included €3.2 million in newly allocated funds and more than €2.3 million in redirected funds from ongoing humanitarian projects.

The UN launched a $1 billion funding appeal on 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.

The Presidency of the Council of the EU rotates among the member states every six months. The country that holds the Presidency leads the work of the council and represents all 27 member states in negotiations with other EU institutions.

Sweden is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2023.

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