Turkey-Syria earthquake: World Health Organization urges to ensure cross-border humanitarian aid delivery

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Image source: AP. Turkish soldiers prepare aid supplies for survivors of the devastating earthquake at Incirlik military air base in Adana, southern Turkey.

Turkey-Syria earthquake update: The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged governments and civil society to work together to ensure cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid between Turkey and Syria and within Syria itself.

WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge called the quake the region’s “worst natural disaster in a century” and stressed the importance of all parties cooperating in aid delivery, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The needs are enormous, increasing every hour. Some 26 million people in both countries are in need of humanitarian assistance,” Kluge said during a press conference.

Kluge underlined that more than 35,000 people have died and many more have been injured due to the earthquake. An additional one million people are estimated to have lost their homes, and are currently living in temporary shelters.

Meanwhile, nearly 5,000 people have been killed across the border in northwestern Syria, and the death toll is expected to rise.

The WHO also warned that there is growing concern over health risks related to cold weather, poor hygiene and sanitation, and the spread of infectious diseases. Meanwhile, Turkey’s health system is under heavy strain after suffering significant damage in the disaster, with 80,000 people currently hospitalised.

Read also: Turkey’s president says last week’s earthquake is the country’s worst disaster in a century, killing more than 35,400

The WHO has launched an appeal for $43 million to help with the earthquake response, and Kluge said that amount was likely to double in the coming days because of the massive need.

According to Kluge, the money will be used to help the most vulnerable by providing trauma care, essential medications and mental and psychosocial support. They will also be used to ensure continuity of routine health services.

(with inputs from agencies)

Read also: Turkey allows Qatar Emir’s visit days after canceling Pakistan PM Shahbaz’s visit amid earthquake

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