WASHINGTON, D.C. — A devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit the south east of Türkiye, just miles from the city of Gaziantep and Northwest Syria, followed by a significant 7.5 magnitude aftershock in the Kahramanmaras province.The risk of further aftershocks continues.
Recorded as some of the largest earthquakes in the region’s history, they have led to a climbing death toll of over 5,000 in both Syria and Türkiye with thousands more injured in both countries. This new tragedy is an additional blow for thousands of civilians who have already suffered from over a decade of violence and forced displacement at the hands of the Assad regime, Iran and Russia.
The Syrian Emergency Task Force calls on the international community to support the work of organizations already on the ground and already rescuing and assisting those in need, such as Syria Civil Defense (The White Helmets) who are helping those trapped by the structural collapses and AFAD, Türkiye’s official disaster and emergency management authority.
Additionally, SETF has launched an Emergency Humanitarian Relief for Earthquake Victims Fund. All donations go towards buying essential items such as blankets, heaters, water filters, hygiene kits etc. to provide immediate aid through our team members based in the affected areas.
This catastrophe underscores the need for cross-border humanitarian corridors to allow rescue teams and resources to be brought into some of the worst hit provinces like Idlib and Aleppo in Northwest Syria which are cut off from the regime held areas and are even less likely to benefit from official UN aid. On Tuesday, the UN announced that it has temporarily halted cross-border aid to northwest Syria due to “logistical issues” caused by the earthquake. This is extremely alarming as there are 4 million Syrians in that region who depend on aid. A united front by the international community to support immediate cross-border delivery of aid and the opening of as many cross border
routes as necessary in addition to the one at Bab Al-Hawa can significantly expedite the process of delivering relief to the victims.
We call on the US government to work closely with the government of Turkiye to support both Turkish and Syrian disaster relief efforts. We also call on Congress to appropriate funding that would reach the millions of civilians in Northwest Syria and Southern Turkiye directly.
Photo NW #Syria by the White Helmets Twitter account.
For press inquiries, please contact:
Veronica Zanetta Brandoni
Director of Advocacy