GENEVA: The UN said on Friday it had so far raised a quarter of the money it needs for relief work in Turkiye after the earthquake that killed more than 55,000 people.
Donors have so far contributed $268 million to the $1 billion flash appeal issued by the UN following the 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6 and its aftershocks that devastated swaths of southeast Turkiye and parts of war-torn Syria.
The UN humanitarian agency’s spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that the initial emergency phase had ended.
“Now we are involved in the humanitarian emergency phase, where we look at what the survivors need,” he added.
On Feb. 16, the UN launched an appeal for $1 billion to help more than 5 million people in Turkiye during the first three months after the quake.
The US, Kuwait, the European Commission, the UN’s emergency fund CERF and Saudi Arabia are currently the top five donors.
Laerke said UN and other humanitarian agencies had reached more than 4.1 million people with basic household items and clothes.
Of those, almost 3 million have been reached with emergency food aid.
The 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6, and its aftershocks, killed more than 55,000 people and left many more in dire conditions.
And 1.6 million have received water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance.
The EU hosted a conference in Brussels earlier this month to raise money for reconstruction, the longer third phase.
Donors pledged 7 billion euros to help Turkiye and Syria recover, although Ankara has set the bill for rebuilding at well over 10 times that figure.
The UN has a twin flash appeal for Syria to help survivors over the first three months, which has raised $364 million of the $398 million requested.
Some 1,177 UN relief trucks have so far entered northern Syria from Turkiye.
“Since last month, we and our partners have provided shelter support, including tents, to nearly 100,000 people.
“Partners have also distributed more than 850,000 ready-to-eat food rations and over 1 million hot meals to people across affected areas,” Laerke said.
Meanwhile, the earthquake damaged more than 20 percent of Turkiye’s agricultural production, the UN’s food agency said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said initial assessments in Turkiye revealed “severe damage to agriculture, including crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as rural infrastructure in affected areas.”
“The earthquake severely impacted 11 key agricultural provinces affecting 15.73 million people and more than 20 percent of the country’s food production,” it said in a statement.
“The earthquake-affected region, known as Turkiye’s ‘fertile crescent’, accounts for nearly 15 percent of agricultural GDP and contributes to almost 20 percent of Turkiye’s agrifood exports.”
It estimated the quake had caused $1.3 billion in damage, through the destruction of infrastructure, livestock and crops, and $5.1 billion in losses to the agricultural sector.
When the earthquake hit, buildings collapsed, crops were damaged and animals were killed, but the resulting devastation also created shortages of barns, food and vaccines for livestock that survived.