Vital needs grow in northwest Syria after last week’s earthquakes: MSF

Photo by Abdul Majeed Al Qareh/MSF

Vital needs continue to grow in the northwest of Syria hit by last week’s devastating earthquakes, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said.

According to MSF, the earthquakes have disrupted a region that already hosts more than 2 million displaced people living in camps in the northwest of Syria and where access to healthcare is seriously lacking.

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.

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

“We are still performing lifesaving surgeries on people who were crushed as a result of the earthquakes,” Moheeb Kaddour, director of a hospital in Atmeh, said.

According to Mohammad Darwish, deputy director of the MSF Atmeh hospital, hospitals are full of injured and dead people and the needs are immense.

The UN launched a $400 million funding appeal on Tuesday to support millions of people in Syria 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.

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 earthquakes. 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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