Earthquake News

Hundreds of thousands of people affected by the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria one month ago are still in dire need of adequate shelter and sanitation.

According to a United Nations official, the appeal for $1 billion to assist survivors is only 10% funded, hampering efforts to tackle the humanitarian crisis. The earthquake and strong aftershocks have killed over 46,000 people in Turkey, destroyed or damaged around 230,000 buildings, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. The U.N. estimates that around 6,000 people in Syria, mainly in the rebel-held northwest, were also killed.

According to Turkish government figures, about two million survivors have been housed in temporary accommodation or evacuated from the earthquake-devastated region. Around 1.5 million people have been settled in tents while another 46,000 have been moved to container houses. Others are living in dormitories and guesthouses. However, the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Turkey, Alvaro Rodriguez, has stressed that extensive humanitarian needs still exist, given the number of people that have been relocated, injured, and the level of devastation.

Although tents are not the optimal solution for sheltering people, they are still needed, according to Rodriguez. Poor sanitary conditions have led to scabies outbreaks, making the situation worse. Last month, the U.N. made a flash appeal for $397.6 million to help Syrian quake victims, just over half of which has come in. Another $1 billion appeal for victims in Turkey has also been launched to cover emergency needs, such as food, protection, education, water, and shelter for three months. However, the appeal for Turkey is only about 10% funded, and Rodriguez warns that unless they move beyond this, the U.N. and its partners will not be able to meet the humanitarian needs.

The earthquake has caused an estimated $34.2 billion in direct physical damages, equivalent to 4% of Turkey's 2021 GDP, according to the World Bank. The bank also said that recovery and reconstruction costs would be much higher, and GDP losses associated with economic disruptions would add to the cost of the earthquakes.

In Syria, the situation remains dire, with aid groups citing fears of a looming public health crisis, as families still live in overcrowded temporary shelters, and crucial infrastructure is damaged by the quake. Aleppo's water infrastructure, which was already aging and damaged by the war, has been further affected by the earthquake, raising the risk of contaminated water supply. Water contamination is a particular concern in Syria, as the country was already battling cholera outbreaks before the earthquake.

Relief organizations have expressed fears that the world's attention will move on quickly, while basic humanitarian needs remain unmet. Political and logistical issues have also blocked aid from reaching those in need. Amnesty International has accused the Syrian government and armed opposition groups of blocking at least 100 trucks carrying essential aid, such as food, medical supplies, and tents from entering Kurdish-majority neighborhoods in Aleppo city. Turkish-backed rebel groups in northwest Syria also blocked at least 30 aid trucks sent by rival Kurdish groups from entering Turkish-controlled Afrin in the same period. The rights group's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Aya Majzoub, called the situation a moment of desperation and criticized the Syrian government and armed opposition groups for pandering to political considerations and taking advantage of people's misery to advance their own agendas.

Ready to retrofit?

Let’s make your home safer

Get a professional evaluation

Call 206-352-5644

Sound Seismic
7543 15th Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98117

Contractor's license # SOUNDSL836ND

© 2024 Sound Seismic
Seattle Website Design