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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

EU Says Ready to Support Quake-Victims in Syria


Tue 07 Feb 2023 | 08:06 PM
H-Tayea

On Tuesday, the European Union announced that it has mobilized search and rescue teams for Turkiye following its request to activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The EU's Copernicus satellite system has also been activated to provide emergency mapping services, said EU High Representative Josep Borrell and EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic in a joint statement.

Urban Search and Rescue teams have been quickly mobilized from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech, France, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania to support the first responders on the ground.

Italy, Spain, and Slovakia have offered their rescue teams to Turkiye as well. The EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in direct contact with the authorities in Turkiye to coordinate further support if needed, it noted.

"The EU is also ready to support those affected in Syria, which has also reported casualties, through its humanitarian assistance programs," said the statement.

"Our thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones and the brave first responders working to save lives," said the two EU officials.

Meanwhile, a European Commission spokesman Balazs Ujvari told a news conference in Brussels that if Syria calls for the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism" we will do our utmost to mobilize assistance in that direction." The civil protection mechanism activation comes from the civilian protection authorities of the country concerned, he clarified.

"What we can do now is to operate through our humanitarian aid policy. We have been in touch with our partner organizations on the ground and from the conversations that we had with them it transpired that they will channel some of the existing humanitarian assistance to the areas affected by the earthquake in Syria," said the spokesman.

"We are also looking into the possibility of making available additional humanitarian aid specifically to address the consequences of the earthquake," he added.

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale, one of the strongest earthquakes in the region in more than 100 years, struck the region of Gaziantep in Turkiye, which affected neighboring Syria as well, overnight.

According to media reports, a big rescue operation is underway across much of southern Turkiye and northern Syria following the devastating earthquake that has killed more than 1,700 people Meanwhile, a new 7.5-magnitude tremor hit the region this afternoon.

Reportedly, more than 1,000 people were killed in Turkiye alone after the first quake, with more than 5,300 wounded. Syrian authorities are reporting 783 dead and more than 2,000 injured.