Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN Appeals for $1 Billion to Help Turkey Earthquake Survivors

Fri 17 Feb 2023 | 09:18 AM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

In order to assist the more than 5 million survivors of the terrible earthquake that struck Turkey last week, the largest to strike the nation in a century, the United Nations launched a $1 billion appeal on Thursday.

The UN also launched a $397 million appeal earlier this week to help the 5 million Syrians who are crossing the border into the northwest, which is controlled by rebels.

Questions about why only 5.2 million individuals are included in the appeal for Turkey yet the UN and the government claim that more than 15 million people were impacted were directed at UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

He was also questioned about why Syria's request to help almost as many people is approximately 2.5 times larger than Turkey's.

According to Mr. Dujarric, the Turkish government, which is in charge of the relief efforts, "was very closely involved in the creation of the Turkish appeal."

He explained, "This is the number they came up with for the concentrate on individuals who need humanitarian aid the most urgently and where the UN can be most productive.

Turkey, according to him, has "a very efficient system for search and rescue and humanitarian help."

Regarding the discrepancy in the appeals' funding levels, Mr. Dujarric stated that one factor was that "there is already a well-established humanitarian community which has been working in Syria" and that a $4.8 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria for 2023 was already in place prior to the earthquake.

In contrast to Turkey, there is already a humanitarian fund set aside for Syria, he explained.

Following these two requests for emergency cash for the following three months, new requests for longer-term assistance will be made.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that the financing for Turkey will enable relief organisations to quickly ramp up support for government-led relief activities, including providing food, protection, education, water, and housing to survivors.

There is no time to waste, Mr. Guterres said, adding that there are immense needs and suffering among the populace.

"I implore the global community to take the initiative and fully finance this vital work in reaction to one of the worst natural disasters in modern history.

It is time for the world to help the Turkish people, he continued, as they host the highest number of refugees in the entire world and have been incredibly generous to their Syrian neighbours for years.

According to the UN office for refugees, more than 1.74 million refugees reside in the 11 Turkish provinces that were devastated by the earthquake.

After visiting both earthquake-stricken nations last week, UN humanitarian director Martin Griffiths stated, "The people of Turkey have undergone indescribable grief."

Almost 47,000 structures were devastated by the earthquake that occurred at the height of winter, leaving hundreds of thousands of people—including young children and the elderly—without access to shelter, food, water, heaters, or medical treatment in the arctic conditions.

“We must stand with them in their darkest hour and ensure they receive the support they need,” Mr Griffiths said.