A child walks outside tents at a camp for earthquake survivors near Jandaris, Syria A child walks outside tents at a camp for earthquake survivors near Jandaris, Syria 

Efforts to help earthquake survivors stepped up

International aid agencies are stepping up efforts to help millions of homeless people, many living in the streets and sleeping under canvas since the deadly earthquake.

By Nathan Morley

The United Nations has appealed for more than $1 billion in funds for the Turkish relief operation, just days after launching a $400 million appeal for Syrians.

The UN said the money would allow aid organizations to quickly scale up support and provide food security, protection, education, water and shelter.

"I urge the international community to step up and fully fund this critical effort in response to one of the biggest natural disasters of our times,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

Unrest and natural disasters

Turkey has now suspended rescue operations in some regions, and the government in Syria has followed suit.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent have been working around the clock to support affected communities even though - according to the Red Cross -  many staff and volunteers have also lost homes and loved ones. 

In Damascus, President Assad said the scale of the earthquake demanded more resources from the government than it had available.

Conditions in rebel-held northwest Syria are particularly grim, with aid slow to arrive in the region ravaged by years of unrest.

On Friday, Turkish officials updated the death toll from the devastating earthquake. Figures show at least 38,044 people have been confirmed killed.

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17 February 2023, 17:24