UN says at least 50,000 killed in Turkey and Syria quakes


UNITED NATIONS – The devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria have killed at least 50,000 people and injured many more, leaving thousands still missing and hundreds of thousands homeless, the United Nations humanitarian chief has said. United Tuesday.

Martin Griffiths told the United Nations Security Council that three weeks after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria, and after strong shocks including on Monday, the scale of the disaster is much clearer now: at least 44,000 people killed in Turkey and about 6,000 in Syria mainly in the rebel northwest.

The UN flash appeal for $397.6 million to help victims of the Syrian earthquake is 42% funded and the $1 billion appeal for victims in Turkey is only 7.4% funded – and this only covers emergency needs for the next three months, he said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday.

Griffiths told the council meeting focusing on Syria that 15.3 million people – 70% of the country’s population – needed humanitarian assistance before the earthquakes, and said that during a post-quake visit he had seen that entire neighborhoods destroyed in the harsh winter conditions.

“Early assessments have shown that 5 million people in Syria are in need of basic shelter and non-food assistance,” said the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. “In many areas, families of four or five are packed into tents, with no special facilities for the elderly, chronically ill or disabled.”

In addition, Griffiths told council members that hundreds of buildings are at serious risk of collapse, thousands more may need to be demolished, the risk of disease is increasing amid a cholera outbreak, and the price of food and other necessary goods there. climbing higher.

“Women and children are more at risk of harassment, violence and exploitation and the need for psychosocial support is great,” he said.

Griffiths said that machines need to be imported to Syria to clear rubble, equipment is needed for makeshift hospitals, and tools are needed to restore access to drinking water.

“The United Nations is working to address unintended obstacles generated by sanctions and counter-terrorism laws, including supply obstacles and delays in materials to repair essential infrastructure, medical supplies or security equipment for our operations,” a he said.

For Turkey, two very large earthquakes on February 6 caused “an estimated $34.2 billion in direct physical damages,” equivalent to 4% of the country’s 2021 GDP, according to a World Bank rapid damage assessment report released on Monday Monday.

The report said that recovery and reconstruction costs will be much greater, possibly twice as much, and that GDP losses associated with economic disruption will also add to the cost of earthquakes.

—— Fatima Hussein contributed to this report from Washington.

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