The earthquake in Turkey and Syria could affect 23 million people
The earthquake in Turkey and Syria could affect 23 million people

The earthquake in Turkey and Syria could affect 23 million people, according to WHO estimates

Earthquake in Southeastern Turkey and Northern Syria Affects 23 Million, WHO Warns

The agency highlighted the Turkish response capacity and noted that the main needs would be located in the Syrian population, in areas of difficult access and in the midst of cold wave

The powerful earthquake that killed thousands of people in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria could affect 23 million people in those regions, WHO warned Tuesday.

“Maps show that 23 million people are exposed, including five million vulnerable people,” a World Health Organization (WHO) official, Adelheid Marschang, told the UN agency’s executive board.

“WHO is aware of Turkey’s strong response capacity and believes that the greatest unmet needs could be in Syria in the immediate and medium term,” she added.

The quake, followed by powerful aftershocks, has killed more than 5,000 people in Turkey and Syria, according to the latest provisional assessments. Thousands of injured and homeless people are struggling in the freezing cold.

The situation is particularly dire in northern Syria, already decimated by years of war. “The delivery of aid across the border into northeastern Syria could be or already be battered by earthquake damage. That in itself is already a huge crisis,” Marschang insisted.

WHO Secretary General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his part, warned of the urgency of the situation.

“It is now a race against the clock. Every minute that passes, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors are diminishing,” he insisted, specifying that they will send “three charter flights to the two countries” with medical supplies, including surgical kits, from the humanitarian logistics platform in Dubai.

“We are mobilizing emergency supplies and have activated WHO’s network of emergency medical teams to provide essential health care to the injured and the most vulnerable.”

Disaster agencies said several thousand buildings have been destroyed in cities across the vast Turkey-Syria border region, plunging an area already ravaged by war, insurgency, refugee crisis and a recent cholera outbreak into misery.

Throughout the night, survivors used their bare hands to pick through the twisted ruins of multi-story apartment blocks, trying to save relatives, friends and anyone else sleeping inside when the first 7.8-magnitude quake struck early Monday.

Marschang addressed a special meeting on the tragedy, where a minute’s silence was observed for the victims. The WHO official pledged that the agency “will work closely with all partners to support authorities in both countries in the critical hours and days ahead, and in the months and years to come, as both countries recover and rebuild.”

Death toll rises to more than 5,000 from earthquake in Turkey, Syria


Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.