Sweden has donated 7 million SEK ($660,000) in humanitarian aid and sent rescue workers and other personnel to areas affected by a deadly earthquake that killed thousands in Turkey and Syria.
Minister for Civil Defense Carl-Oskar Bohlin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell and Director General for the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) Charlotte Petri Gornitzka held a press conference on Monday evening to announce Sweden’s emergency assistance for Turkey and Syria.
The government immediately donated 7 million SEK ($660,000) to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the initial response to the area hit by the earthquake.
According to MSB Director Gornitzka, 5 million SEK will be allocated for Turkey and 2 million for Syria. Gornitzka said Sweden is coordinating with the EU but also with the other Nordic countries to ensure they can provide effective emergency help for people in need in the region.
Sweden is also providing expertise in water, sanitation, energy and logistics as well as support in the form of tents and temporary shelters, officials said.
This is only the first humanitarian aid, and decisions on further support will follow in the coming days. ”Once we have a clearer picture of what Turkey and Syria need, we will be ready to make decisions on further support,” Minister Forssell said.
A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria in the early morning hours of Monday, followed by numerous aftershocks and a magnitude-7.5 temblor some nine hours later, that killed more than 5,000 people, leveled buildings while many were still asleep and triggered tremors felt as far away as Egypt and the island of Cyprus.
It was one of the most powerful to hit the region in at least a century, affecting southeastern parts of Turkey that are home to millions of refugees from Syria and other war-torn parts of the world.
The emergency service in Turkey put the initial death toll at 3,432, although it threatened to climb substantially because the nighttime disaster had flattened dozens of apartment blocks across major cities.
At least 1,602 people also died in government-controlled parts of Syria, as well as the northern areas held by pro-Turkish factions, according to the health ministry and a local hospital.
Turkey has declared a level-four emergency and asked for international assistance through the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre.
Seventeen EU member states and two candidate countries have offered 25 search and rescue teams and two emergency medical teams. According to the EU’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations 1,155 rescuers and 72 search dogs were sent to Turkey on February 7.
#EUCivilProtection response to Türkiye #earthquake:⁰
17 EU countries 🇦🇹🇧🇬🇭🇷🇨🇿🇪🇪🇫🇷🇬🇷🇭🇺🇮🇹🇲🇹🇳🇱🇵🇱🇷🇴🇸🇰🇪🇸🇵🇹🇩🇪 together with 🇦🇱🇲🇪 have offered 25 search & rescue and 2 emergency medical teams.⁰
1155 rescuers & 72 search 🐕🦺 are heading to 🇹🇷, the first teams having arrived yesterday. pic.twitter.com/NRfIUGDW9s
— EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid 🇪🇺 (@eu_echo) February 7, 2023