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UNHCR: Level of earthquake destruction ‘apocalyptic’

March 13, 2023 at 11:46 am

Work has been started for the demolition of the building, which was lying on its side in one piece, in the Golbasi district of Adiyaman, after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit multiple provinces of Turkiye including Adiyaman on March 11, 2023. [Recep Bilek – Anadolu Agency]

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees has urged that more support be given to areas in Syria and Turkiye devastated by the 6 February earthquakes.

“The level of destruction and devastation is shocking and in many places apocalyptic,” Filippo Grandi said after a five-day visit to the affected region.

“Millions have suffered loss, injury and trauma, and many others have been displaced by this traffic and terrible event.”

“The needs on the ground in both countries are enormous and the response must be better resourced. Whilst it is critical to think about and support longer-term efforts, much more humanitarian aid and early recovery resources are needed so that people can begin to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.”

Survivor in NW Syria: ‘I watched my house collapse and kill my entire family’

Roughly 54,000 people died in the earthquakes which struck on 6 February and thousands more are missing. At least 2.7 million people have been displaced across the region.

Cities made of tents and container homes have sprung up to house people, but many remain homeless or in temporary accommodation.

Grandi’s call follows a warning by the Red Cross that urgent action is needed to prevent the collapse of water systems in northwest Syria following earthquake damage.

Direct damage to the infrastructure, the collapse of Aleppo’s sewage supply and the destruction of water tanks on roofs have led to an increased risk that contaminated water could pollute the supply which heightens the risk of infectious diseases.

Thousands of cholera cases are being recorded in the northwest of Syria.

At the end of February Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) made an urgent call for assistance for people in northwest Syria and for an immediate upscale of shelters, water, sanitation equipment and medical supplies.

Many of the earthquake survivors in northwest Syria have already been displaced by 12 years of war and many were already living in tents.