UN announces additional $25 million for earthquake response in Syria

Martin Griffiths (Source: Twitter)

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths on Friday announced an additional $25 million grant to boost aid efforts in earthquake-stricken parts of Syria.

The amount will be provided from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in order to address the most urgent needs of those affected by the devastating earthquake in Syria.

“We are responding as fast as we can to help the people of Syria, who have already been through so much,” Griffiths said. “We appreciate the overwhelming support from across the world to support the search-and-rescue efforts.”

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 quake flattened thousands of structures, trapping an unknown number of people and potentially impacting millions. Officials and medics said more than 35,000 people have died in both countries and that tens of thousands have been injured.

Some 5.3 million people in Syria may have been affected by the devastating earthquake and will need some form of shelter assistance, the UN Refugee Agency Syria representative earlier said.

According to a press release from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the additional grant follows the $25 million released last week for response efforts in the region. It brings the total amount released by CERF for emergency response operations in the region to $50 million.

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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