News “Earthquake stopped the flow of humanitarian aid to Syria.” Last Minute WORLD headlines and events
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the flow of aid from Turkey to northwestern Syria was temporarily interrupted due to the earthquake. OCHA spokeswoman Madevi Soon-Suon said aid workers are trying to figure out how to get aid to people in war-torn Syria.
The UN-sponsored cross-border relief operations since 2014 are vital for those fleeing territory under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the conflict.
In a statement to the Reuters news agency, an OCHA spokesman said it was unclear when assistance to the 4 million Syrians would begin.
“Some roads are destroyed and some are inaccessible. There are logistical issues that need to be addressed,” Sun-Suon said, adding, “We are exploring all ways to reach those in need.”
One such method is the delivery of aid from government-controlled areas of Syria. This route is rarely used during the war.
Request for help from Damascus
The Damascus government has long opposed humanitarian operations to bring aid to Syria from Turkey and notes that aid must be delivered through Damascus.
Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Bassam Sabbagh, who yesterday met with UN Secretary General António Guterres, said he had turned to the UN for help.
However, Sabbagh emphasized that all aid should be transferred within the country in agreement with the Syrian government, and not from the Turkish border.
Many Syrians who have taken refuge in opposition-held areas in the country’s northwest fear that this will mean that their fate will be handed over to Assad.
The earthquake, which hit Turkey and Syria early Monday morning, killed more than 5,000 people. About 900 people have died in northwestern Syria. Under the rubble in a region that even before the earthquake needed outside help, there are still many Syrians.
According to the Syrian government, casualties in government-controlled areas are about the same.
Aid officials believe that available aid in the northwest will quickly dry up.
Kieren Barnes, the Syrian director of the charity Mercy Corps, told Reuters: “We have heard that there is enough material in the system for the next 3-5 days and we are concerned that it will run out quickly in the near future.”
The Syrian Red Crescent Organization, headquartered in Damascus, said in a statement today that it is ready to deliver aid throughout Syria, including regions held by the opposition.
$25 million in assistance from the United Nations Emergency Fund
On the other hand, the United Nations has announced that it will provide a $25 million grant to help start humanitarian aid in Turkey and Syria. Funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), it aims to provide emergency life-saving relief in the region.
“As people in the region grapple with the devastating effects of this tragedy, we want to tell them that they are not alone. The humanitarian community will support them every step of the way through this crisis,” said Martin Griffiths, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian and Emergency Coordinator.
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