(CTN NEWS) – UNITED NATIONS – Two days after launching a $397 million plea to aid nearly 5 million Syrians living across the border in the rebel-held northwest, the UN launched a $1 billion appeal to aid the 5.2 million survivors of the most devastating earthquake in recent Turkish history.
Questions about why only 5.2 million individuals are included in the appeal for Turkey, yet the U.N. and the government claim that more than 15 million people were impacted, were directed at U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
He was also questioned on why the request for Syria was about twice as much as for Turkey to aid nearly the same number of people.
The Turkish government, which is in charge of the relief efforts, “was very closely collaborated with in the formulation of the Turkish appeal,” he claimed.
“This is the amount they came up for the focus on people who need humanitarian aid the most, the quickest, and where the U.N. can be most effective,” Dujarric added. Turkey, according to him, has “a very efficient system for search and rescue and humanitarian help.”
He claimed that “there is already a well-established humanitarian network which has been operating in Syria” and that a $4.8 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria for 2023 before the earthquake contributed to the gap in the requests.
In contrast to Turkey, there is already a humanitarian fund set aside for Syria.
Following these two requests for emergency cash for the following three months, new requests for longer-term assistance will be made.
According to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the $1 billion appeal for Turkey will enable aid organizations to quickly scale up support for government-led relief efforts.
Including providing food, protection, education, water, and shelter to survivors of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6.
There is no time to waste because of the immense needs and suffering of the population, Guterres remarked. In reaction to one of the worst natural disasters in modern history, “I implore the world community to step up and fully fund this crucial effort.”
He asserted that it is time for the international community to support the Turkish people because they “house the biggest number of refugees in the world and have shown enormous charity to its Syrian neighbors for years.”
According to the U.N. refugee agency, more than 1.74 million refugees reside in the 11 Turkish provinces devastated by the earthquakes.
Martin Griffiths, the head of the U.N. humanitarian agency, who visited both earthquake-stricken nations last week, stated: “The people of Turkey have faced terrible pain.”
Hundreds of thousands of people, including young children and the elderly, were left without access to shelter, food, water, heaters, and medical care when the earthquake struck the coldest part of the year.
According to Griffiths’ office, 47,000 buildings have been either damaged or destroyed.
Griffiths said in their time of need, “We must stand by them and make sure they get the support they require.”
Since the earthquake struck 10 days ago, the United Nations has come under fire for its tardy reaction in delivering aid and large equipment to the rebel-held northwest of Syria.
Following Griffiths’ trip to Damascus, Guterres said on Monday that Syrian President Bashar Assad had consented to open two more crossing sites from Turkey to the northwest — at Bab Al-Salam and Al Raée — for a three-month trial term.
Due to Russian pressure, the U.N. was only permitted to send aid to the northwest Idlib region through the Bab Al-Hawa gateway.
The U.N. spokesperson, Dujarric, reported that on Monday, 22 trucks carrying food and other supplies passed through Bab Al-Hawa, and on Thursday, two trucks carrying tents did the same. Convoys from Al Raée had not yet entered the northwest.
According to the most recent information, as of February 14, 8,900 buildings in the northwest of Syria had been entirely or partially destroyed, displacing 11,000 people, according to Dujarric.
According to him, the most urgent need in Syria is housing, food, financial aid, and supplies for the winter.
The U.N. is concerned about the rising number of people in need of assistance, according to Dujarric, who noted that global humanitarian needs are already 25% greater this year than they were the year before the earthquake.
He declared, “Our humanitarian system is overburdened.”
According to Dujarric, many needy residents in regions are plagued by conflict and climate change’s effects.
To deal with “the consequences of neglecting climate change, of not putting enough effort into peace, into reconciliation, into social cohesion… falls on the U.N.’s doorstep,” he added, is frustrating for the U.N.
Following international law and the U.N. Charter, the U.N. is working as quickly as it can, according to Dujarric, “which occasionally requires the U.N. as opposed to other relief agencies to take into consideration and have to respect the political situation.”
And I would feel that nothing is coming quickly enough if I were the one in need, he said.
In light of this, Dujarric said, “we hope that member states find the solidarity and generosity that is also needed from the public and private sector” to aid millions of other people in need, including earthquake survivors.
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