Disasters & Accidents

WHO urges more aid for earthquake-devastated Syria

Geneva, Mar 3 (EFE).- The World Health Organization on Friday called for more aid to be provided to the victims of the massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria in early February, but it stressed that the situation in the latter country is much more dire.

“The Syrian people have suffered more than most people ever will, or ever could,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Friday press briefing, describing what he saw during a visit this week to the northwestern region of that Arab country.

Tedros paid a visit on Wednesday to Idlib province, a rebel-held enclave on the Turkish border where the bulk of the destruction on the Syrian side occurred.

The WHO chief said he was the first senior United Nations representative to visit that region, adding that several other UN officials had surveyed the damage that the Feb. 6 magnitude-7.8 earthquake and several powerful aftershocks caused in southern Turkey.

Tedros called for an increase in humanitarian aid to both countries and for support for a political solution to the 12-year-old Syrian civil war, which has had a ruinous impact on that country’s social and economic fabric and is estimated to have left more than 400,000 dead.

Earlier this week, in a press conference hours after his visit to northwestern Syria, he urged both sides in Syria’s conflict to “use the shared suffering of this crisis as a platform for peace.”

The Geneva-based WHO has supplied a third of the medicine in Syria’s opposition-controlled areas over the past decade, but that proportion climbed to two-thirds after the earthquake.

Since the massive temblor, that UN agency also has delivered 200 tons of medical supplies to hospitals.

The earthquake and its aftershocks are blamed for roughly 50,000 deaths, including around 5,900 fatalities in Syria. EFE


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