Earthquake: More Than 70 Countries Flood Turkey And Syria With Aid, Fear Of Humanitarian Crisis

 By Elizabeth Chukwuma, with Agency Reports

The International Community, has a big task at hand : How to bail out the European country of Turkey  and the  Middle East country of Syria,  hit by the deadly earthquake on Monday, February 6, 2023, that killed thousands of people .

 Agency reports has it that more than 70 countries have offered rescue personnel and other material and Financial aid to the two countries .India,  South Korea, and war- torn Ukraine are among the nations that were said to have agreed that to be sending rescue personnel and supplies to the two countries to assist the earthquake victims.

 The India government, according to Diplomatic reports is sending 100 members of its Natural Disaster Response Force, particular, the trained  dog squads and medical personnel and equipment to Turkey . President Yoon Suk Yeol ,  of South Korea,  ‘’ who had described Turkey  as a brother nation’’, on Tuesday, February 7, 2023,  disclosed that the government  will  provide $5 million  in emergency Humanitarian  aid, dispatch  rescue personnel  and provide  emergency medical supplies to support Turkey,  which is suffering from massive casualties  after the 7.8 magnitude  earthquake  that struck on Monday, February 6, 2023.

The South Korean President was said to have also sent a message to his Turkish Counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan that ‘’all possible assistance ‘’would be provided for a speedy recovery of the devastated Gaziantep region in the country.   

  President Volodymyr Zelensky, of Ukraine, whose country has been at war with Russia, over the last 11 months may not want to be left out in helping out Turkey in this trying moment as  he has issued a decree  on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, ordering  to send  humanitarian aid to Turkey  to help  overcome  the consequences  of the devastating earthquake.,

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine,Foreign minister ,  had said that  the country  might send  several dozen  emergency workers  to Turkey  to assist in clearing the trouble. The Asian country of Taiwan ,was said to have increased  its donation  to Turkey  from  $200,000 to  $2 million as well as dispatched  130 rescue  workers to the country  to assist in the search and rescue operations . That much was announced by the country’s ministry of Foreign Affairs.

   There is no gainsaying the fact that the earthquake hit Turkey and Syrian, have continued to attract international attentions. Agency reports has it   that 300,000 blankets, , 4,511 family living tents,  and 47 M2 tents,  102,254 bed,  178,732 pillows and sheets, 4,602 kitchen sets and 3,761 heaters  had been sent to Turkey for distribution to the victims.

Material Supplies To Earthquake Victims In Gaziantep Province, Turkey

Even Greece that have a cold relationship with Turkey, was said to have set aid the tension, to dispatch aid to the country.   Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister, was quoted by CNN, as saying that   that Greece and Turkey are neighbours which need each other  through difficult times.  Hear him:  This is  a time  to temporarily set aside  our differences  and try to address  what is very  urgent  situation.

Even  Companies and Non-profit Organisations are said to be committing  to the 10 Turkish provinces in the Gaziantep region .  Amazon,  a US, based  multinational firm,   were said to have announced  that it will  help  victims  of the Turkey earthquake  by donating  food,  medicine  and equipment  from its Istanbul warehouse . The retail giant,  which according to agency reports has almost , 2,000 employees in Turkey ,  had said that it has  activated  its disaster  relief capabilities , and was preparing to donate  relief items , including blankets, tents food, baby  food  and medicines.

Diplomatic analysts would want the International community to move fast into aid Syria, and help out, because   65% of the basic  infrastructural facilities   in the rebel controlled region hit by the earthquake d   have been destroyed  or heavily damaged.

 Prior to the earthquake that struck in the rebel controlled region  on Monday, February 6, 2023,  90% of the population  was dependent  on humanitarian  aid, which comes  through only  one border route  crossing via  Turkey, in Bab al-Hawa, meaning that the situation may be worse now it has been destroyed.

The North American country, US, of the United States had said that it is working with its European allies to provide  earthquake relief materials  to the Middle East country but will still stand  against  working with the government  of President Barshar   al-Asad.

President Al-Asad Of Syria

 Stephen Allen , a top official of the US, agency  for International Development,  USAID,  had said that since  most of the damage  in Syria I was in the rebel  controlled area of the country,  the agency is re-orienting assistance   that was already in place  to help the war –torn country , focusing  on rescue efforts  and other immediate needs of the people  such as shelter and food.

Meanwhile, the US, based International Committee of the Red Cross, IRC, which is known the world –over for its humanitarian efforts,  says  it has sent surgical  materials,  to a public hospital at Alepo , Syria. Enough to treat 100 people.

The IRC, was said to have also made provision for   more of such items  and other medical equipment which  are on its way to the Alepo, Latakia and Tartou , hospitals, along  with thousands  of canned food enough to  feed tens of  thousands people, in the affected areas in the country, blankets, mattresses and other essential  items.

The United Nations on its part   says ‘’ it is exploring  all avenues’’  to get  supplies  to the rebel held  north –western Syria.The global body says it  has released  $25 million  from its emergency fund to help kick-start the humanitarian response  in Turkey and Syria.

  As a prelude to ensuring that the relief supplies get to the earthquake victims in the rebel controlled  region ofSyria,  the UN, according to  Stephane  Dujarric, the spokesperson, had said that the global body is preparing  a convoy to cross the conflict lines  within Syria, as  the Monday’s earthquake  have  damaged  the Bab al-Hawa road  leading to the main border  crossing  from Turkey to  northern Syria.  

The first shipment of the relief materials   is expected to depart its fulfillment centre in Istanbul, the country’s capital on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.

The Turkish government had reported that more than 7,800 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured due to the devastating earthquake in the Gaziantep Province. There are indications that thousands of buildings had collapsed in the affected region in Turkey.  

The US  Geological Survey agency  had described the earthquake  as one of the strongest   to hit the Turkey region  in more than 100 years , as it was said to have struck  23 Km or 14.2 miles, east of Nurdagin the country’s Gaziantep  Province, and at a depth  of 24.1KM , 14.9 miles.

The Syrian news Agency, SANA, had reported that the death toll in the country has risen  to at least 1,932.  It noted that in the government held provinces of Alepo, Lakatia, Hama and Tartou, no fewer than 812  people were killed  and 1449 people  injured. It further stated that 1,120 people were killed in the rebel-controlled north western region and 2,500 injured.

 The combined death toll in the two countries that earthquake struck on Monday, February 6, 2023, which levelled cities and towns was said to have surpassed 11, 000 people by Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Rescue workers, according to agency reports are still looking for people trapped under the rubble in in the freezing weather, with temperature s in Gaziantep, near the epicenter in southern turkey dropping to the low 20s overnight, which may lead to global humanitarian crisis.

Earthquake Colllapsing Buildings In Gaziantep Province, Turkey

Many believe that the level of destruction damage meted out by the earthquake upon Syrian’s north western region has no comparison. It was reported that areas controlled by the rebels have been hit hard by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks as well that the damage that had resulted from the 12 years war in which President Barshar al- Asad regime   had used almost every available weapon in the country to prosecute the war is nothing compared to the earthquake induced damage in the rebel controlled region.

Given the number of people that were said to have  been killed in the Gaziantep Province due to the devastating earth quake in the region, may have  encouraged  Recep Tayyip rdogan, the Turkish President  to announce  a three-month  state of emergency  in 10 provinces  worst affected by the earthquake in the country.

The Turkish President , who is playing a mediatory  war role to  the  end the over 10 months  Ukraine-Russia war , had said that  that the state of emergency  is to ensure  that  rescue work  can be carried  out quickly  in the country’s south eastern region, with further delay.

 At present there are 59,971 search and rescue personnel working across the 10 provinces hit by the deadly earthquake in Turkey alone.  There are also reports that an additional,3,251 international rescue  personnel  are already located  in the 10 provinces and are helping in the rescue operations. 12,000 of the Turkish workers, are said to be working alongside with 9,000 troops in the 10 provinces.

 In Kahramanmaras, one of the major cities in Turkey , hard –hit by the earth quake  rescue workers who were said to  have working all through  the night  in the frigid cold  since Monday, February 6, 2023,  to pull out survivours  from the rubble of collapsed  buildings are said to be making appreciable impact. More than 1000 people were said to be missing in the town alone due to the earthquake.

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