Turkey’s first UN aid convoy entered northern and western Syria after Monday’s catastrophic Turkey-Syria earthquake.
The UN reported that six trucks bringing emergency supplies and shelter had passed via the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib.
The consignment was supposed to arrive before the calamity struck, but delivery was momentarily stalled owing to road damage.
The inability to send the specialized gear needed to save lives was lamented by local rescue workers.
The White Helmets, a group of volunteer first responders, tweeted, “The UN help… is regular. Also, periodic assistance that has been occurring since before the earthquake.”
Search and rescue crews and the recovery of anyone buried under the rubble won’t need any specialized aid or equipment.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that the trucks carried enough food, water, shelter, and other necessities. This can meet the requirements of at least 5,000 people.
Its director general, António Vitorino, said, “We are working extremely closely with authorities to support in any manner we can. We hope that relief will rapidly reach those most hit.”
More relief is on the way, but much more is required, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned.
Impact of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake in northern and western Syria
Since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey early on Monday, the White Helmets have recorded at least 1,970 dead.
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Over 1,300 structures were only partially burned and 418 were completely demolished. They have cautioned that the number is likely to climb dramatically.
Call for Aid and Response from the International Community
As time ran out to find survivors, the White Helmets issued a global cry for aid Thursday morning. Which cited a heavy machinery scarcity.
Hospitals that have been overrun by the 2,950 injured survivors have run out of fuel. The reason is power disruptions and the harsh winter cold.
“The current state of affairs is disastrous. And no help is in sight “In Jindayris, Ibrahim Khalil Menkaween told the Reuters news agency.
A 56-year-old man lost seven family members including his wife. He was waiting close to the ruins of his home with a corpse bag for rescuers.
“I’m holding this bag for when they bring out my brother and his small son and both of their spouses,” he said.
It is estimated that 4.1 million people, the majority of whom are women and children, were already dependent on humanitarian aid in the opposition-held north-west, which is governed by a jihadist alliance and Turkish-backed rebel factions opposed to President Bashar al-Assad before the earthquake struck.
Since Bab al-Hawa is the only border crossing the UN is allowed to use, over 600 relief trucks per month came through it from Turkey last year. Damascus is the designated hub for all other shipments, however historically the government has only allowed a trickle of “cross-line” aid to actually make it across the border.
Is the UN insufficient in providing assistance?
On Thursday, the United Nations special envoy for Syria stated that areas hit by the country’s earthquake have gotten “nowhere near enough” lifesaving aid and stressed that the relief must not be “politicized.”
“We require it immediately via the best, quickest, and most efficient channels. Everything must be increased for them “A reporter from Geneva quotes Geir Pedersen as saying.
He made the remarks following a meeting of the United Nations’ humanitarian task force for Syria, which includes representatives from Russia and Iran, whose forces have supported the Syrian government throughout the country’s 12-year civil war, as well as representatives from Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, who have sided with the opposition.
UN assistance chief El-Mostafa Benlamlih has described the current situation in Syria as a “crisis on top of a crisis,” as 10.9 million people across the country have been impacted by the quake.
At least 1,260 people, according to the health ministry, have been dead, although aid from nations including Iran, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, India, and Venezuela has already reached areas under government control.
The government has proposed that removing economic sanctions imposed by the US and EU will aid in facilitating an expedited emergency response. The EU, however, has stated that the sanctions do not prevent the shipment of food, medicine, or medical equipment.