1676411676 WHO on earthquakes Biggest natural disaster in 100 years

WHO on earthquakes: Biggest natural disaster in 100 years

At a press conference in Copenhagen, Kluge emphasized that the full extent of damage in the earthquake region had yet to be determined. The WHO European Region includes 53 countries, including Turkey and some countries in Central Asia. “Now is the time for the international community to show the same generosity that Turkey has shown to other nations around the world over the years,” Kluge said. The country is home to the largest refugee population in the world.

Kluge also paid tribute to the work of the “heroic” Turkish rescue teams, who work day and night in a race against time and who, even after many days, still find people in the rubble. “We are inspired by them and draw strength from their efforts,” he said. At the same time, he urged all government and civil society stakeholders to work together to ensure the cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid between Turkey and Syria, as well as within Syria.

Helpers report earthquake disaster

On Tuesday, Austrians who took part in the relief operation reported the huge extent of the earthquake disaster in the Turkish-Syrian border area.

The organization now assumes that 26 million people in Turkey and Syria could be affected by the disaster, including around five million people who are already considered particularly vulnerable.

Afraid to go home

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) assumes that at least seven million children are affected, as the organization’s spokesman, James Elder, said in Geneva on Tuesday. “Many thousands” of children also died and many children also lost their parents. “In Turkey, a total of 4.6 million children lived in the ten provinces affected by the earthquake. In Syria, 2.5 million children are affected,” said Elder. Citing the continuing rise in the death toll, he said the final toll would be “unimaginable”.

Families with children are sleeping “in the streets, in malls, schools, mosques, bus stations and under bridges” and staying in open spaces because they are afraid to go home, the spokesman said. Temperatures are extremely low and more and more children are suffering from hypothermia and respiratory infections.

Red Cross: Many questions to the tracking service

Since the earthquake in Turkey, the Red Cross Tracking Service has received many reports. Above all, Syrian refugees in Austria are looking for their relatives in the earthquake area.

A few more reports on survivors

The hope of finding more survivors is fading by the minute. “The rescue phase, in which people are pulled alive from the rubble … is coming to an end,” UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths said on Monday in Aleppo.

On Tuesday, there were media reports of three people being rescued alive from rubble in Turkey. In Kahramanmaras province, helpers rescued two brothers aged 17 and 21 this morning, state news agency Anadolu and broadcaster CNN Türk reported. They were under the rubble for 198 hours. An 18-year-old man who was also buried for 198 hours has been rescued in Adiyaman province. The information could not be independently verified.

Worst disaster in Europe in years

The European Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for comprehensive help for the many victims of the earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border area. The need is huge and growing by the hour, said WHO regional director Hans Kluge. “We are facing the worst natural disaster in the WHO region of Europe in a century,” Kluge said of the earthquake, which killed tens of thousands of people.

More than 40,000 deaths

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred on Monday of last week and toppled several buildings. As of Tuesday, the total death toll was estimated at more than 40,000. In Turkey alone, the number is 35,418, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by state news agency Anadolu. 5,900 deaths were reported recently in Syria. But people are still buried under rubble in the earthquake region.

According to satellite data, severe earthquakes can also have long-term geological consequences. “The coastal town of Iskenderun appears to have suffered significant subsidence, causing flooding, while the earthquake has put many hills across the country at serious risk of landslides,” the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Emergency help also from Austria

“The suffering of the people is indescribable,” reported Heinz Wegerer, humanitarian aid coordinator at Hilfswerk International, on Tuesday in Vienna about the situation in the crisis area. He returned to Austria from Turkey on Monday. “The corpse smell is getting stronger,” said the rescuer.

Destroyed houses in Kahramanmaras

Portal/Issam Abdallah In Kahramanmaras province, helpers rescued two brothers on Tuesday

Austrian organization Hilfswerk International is providing emergency aid in the hard-hit province of Hatay. “What I saw there, what I lived there, it’s difficult or impossible to put into words,” he reported worriedly. The desperate situation of the population in the earthquake area is very close to him. In Iskenderun, for example, there are “four parallel streets where all the buildings on the left and right have been destroyed,” Wegerer said. There are still many people missing under the rubble, “people have been sitting in front of the destroyed buildings and resisting since last Monday, hoping for a miracle,” he said.

neighbor in distress

Help for earthquake victims

Quick and uncomplicated help is now urgently needed. In the early days, the local population had to provide most of the humanitarian aid. “Let’s make sure people can keep helping and have staying power,” Wegerer said. Up to 50 aid agency workers must ensure this in Turkey. Wegerer also reported problems with emergency aid. The state civil protection authority AFAD “is obviously overloaded with coordination”.

Syria: Assad opens more border crossings

In order to improve humanitarian aid in the hard to reach areas hit by the earthquake in Syria, the ruler Bashar al-Assad declared his willingness to open two more border crossings with Turkey. Bab al-Salam and al-Rai are expected to be open for three months, the UN emergency aid coordinator told the Security Council on Monday, according to several diplomats.

A UN aid convoy was able to enter via Bab al-Salam on Tuesday. An AFP correspondent observed the convoy crossing the border from Turkey into Syria.

Previously, the United Nations could only provide aid to areas not controlled by the government through a border crossing, the Bab al-Hawa crossing. Northwest Syria is controlled by several rebel groups.

A graph shows the influence of different groups in the Syrian earthquake-affected areas

Graph: ORF; Source: BBC/Janes

UN demands nearly $400 million for Syria

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Assad’s decision. “Opening these border crossings – in addition to facilitating humanitarian access, speeding up visa approvals and facilitating travel between hubs – will allow more aid to arrive more quickly.”

The UN is demanding $397 million from the international community for Syria. Guterres said five million people urgently needed that amount to survive the next three months. The UN is preparing a similar appeal for donations for Turkey.

The Syrian ruler expects international help to rebuild the country. Assad, speaking to Griffiths, stressed “the importance of international efforts” to help “restore infrastructure in Syria”, said a statement released by the Syrian presidency.

First UN delegation in Syria

In the meantime, the first UN delegation also arrived at the disaster area in northwest Syria, which is controlled by opposition militias. UN personnel “crossed the border from the Turkish side this morning,” Kenn Crossley, director of the World Food Program for Syria, told AFP on Tuesday. It’s primarily an assessment mission to assess needs in the hard-hit region, Crossley said.

Activists and emergency workers in northwest Syria have criticized the UN’s slow response to the earthquake in the prayers of rebels. In government-controlled areas, on the other hand, aid arrived by air much earlier. Griffiths had previously acknowledged that the UN “has so far left the people of northwest Syria alone”.