People still urgently need relief support in Turkey, Syria: MSF

This photograph taken on February 19, 2023, shows women carrying buckets of water in Yaylakonak village in Adıyaman district, a Kurdish Alevi community village where 108 people died and 170 houses collapsed after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck parts of Turkey and Syria. BÜLENT KILIÇ / AFP

Although the acute emergency phase is over, people in Turkey and Syria affected by devastating earthquakes in early February still urgently need relief support, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a press release.

According to MSF, displaced people still don’t have shelter, food, clean water or other necessities and need medical assistance, toilets, showers, heating systems, winter clothing, generators, blankets, hygiene kits and cleaning products.

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.

“Most people are sad, desperate, anxious, uncertain about the future and live with constant fear and post-traumatic stress caused by aftershocks on a daily basis,” said Ahmed Rahmo, MSF project coordinator in Idlib, Syria. “Many relive the experiences in their minds and believe that the destruction they have experienced could happen again. Hence, the provision of psychosocial support is crucial.”

MSF has also called for more access points to be made available for humanitarian assistance to enter northwest Syria.

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.

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