LONDON: Rescuers and aid organizations face a “race against time” to find survivors of Monday's deadly earthquake in Turkiye and Syria and bring assistance to those in most need, a British charity said on Tuesday.
Following the two 7.8 and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes that wrought devastation in both countries, Action For Humanity, the parent charity of the UK’s largest Syria-focused NGO Syria Relief, released a statement describing the devastation impacting the lives of everyone in the areas worst hit.
Two members of their own staff, a medical professional and a monitoring evaluation and learning (MEAL) manager in Idlib, Syria, were killed with members of their family.
Dozens of other staff have lost family members and “everyone has been impacted,” the statement said.
“The devastation is beyond words, virtually every village in Northwest Syria, and every life has been impacted,” Othman Moqbel, CEO for Action For Humanity said. “Two of our own team, the Action For Humanity family, were killed — a medical professional and a member of our MEAL team in Syria — people motivated to do all they can to save the lives of Syrians, lost theirs to this tragedy,” he added.
He continued: “They were killed alongside family members. Also dozens of our team have lost parents, cousins, uncles, aunties, nephews and nieces. Their lives have been ripped apart.
“Across Syria, traumatised families have been spending spent 30 hours out in freezing cold as they are afraid to stay in buildings that are at risk of collapsing. They fear more earthquakes. The death toll rises by the minute.
“We are in a race against time to find survivors and provide warmth, food, shelter and medical aid.”
Moqbel also said it was vital that governments, but also members of the global public, help to support the emergency response.
“Syria is suffering from being underfunded and forgotten throughout nearly 12 years of war,” he said.
“There was no hospital capacity already before this week, just suffering, there was not enough food before this week, just poverty, after neglecting Syrians for so long, we owe it to do all we can to help them.
“We have mobilized staff to provide emergency aid and are working with our peers to provide a coordinated emergency response — which is so vital in times of large scale humanitarian need like this,” he added.
Action For Humanity has launched an emergency appeal, raising funds for items such as emergency holistic kits, support for the medical facilities, fuel and temporary collective shelter for those made homeless by the disaster.
It also deploying its mobile health clinics to support those impacted on site and health systems already under strain.