UN agencies need $400 mln for 4.9 million people in Syria affected by the recent earthquakes

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 last week’s devastating earthquakes, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

The UN launched a $400 million funding appeal on Tuesday to support millions of people affected by the earthquakes for the next three months. The appeal aims to support 4.9 million people with the provision of essential shelter, health, food, water, sanitation, non-food items, education, nutrition and protection services.

Nearly 9 million people have been affected across the country. The damage is worse in the northwest of Syria, involving 4.2 million people in Aleppo along with 3 million in Idlib. More than 7,400 buildings have been completely or partially destroyed.

“This is a crisis of colossal proportions, one which will be a true litmus test for global generosity, solidarity and diplomacy,” Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said at the end of a visit to Turkey and Syria.

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 Monday 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 UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday appealed for $77 million to provide food rations and hot meals for 874,000 people affected by the earthquake.

The number of people in need of aid “includes 284,000 newly displaced people in Syria and 590,000 people in Turkey, which includes 45,000 refugees and 545,000 internally displaced people,” the Rome-based organization said in a statement.

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