Monday’s strong earthquake killed more than 22,300 people in Turkey and Syria, one of the region’s worst disasters in a century. For the Syrians, it comes on top of twelve years of civil war that devastated their country.
While humanitarian aid is flowing into Turkey, its arrival in Syria is much more difficult, especially in rebel-held areas in the northwest of the country.
In this sense, the World Health Organization (WHO) has pointed out that significant “constraints” restrict the entry of “huge quantities of supplies” for northern Syria devastated by the violent earthquake.
“Today, the earthquake is attracting attention again, but the world has forgotten about Syria,” said Michael Ryan, WHO health emergency management officer, at a conference. press in Dubai, where humanitarian aid is to be sent for Syria.
The Syrian government also announced on Friday that it accepted that international aid intended for the rebel areas be sent from the regions it controls.
In 2014, aid could reach the rebel areas through four border crossings, but under pressure from China and Russia, only the post of Bab-al-Hawa, in the north of the country on the border with Turkey, is remained operational.
On Friday, a UN aid convoy arrived via Bab al-Hawa, the second after the previous day, a drop in the bucket in terms of local needs. According to the UN, transport through this border post remains disrupted due to damaged roads.
“As soon as it is fully operational, there are huge quantities of supplies ready to come in”, assured Michael Ryan, without giving figures due to “very significant constraints” due to the absence of any other point. passing.
“A lot of agencies, including ours, had stockpiled aid because it’s winter, and the needs were already great even before the earthquake,” he said.
As chances of finding survivors dwindle, Syria faces a “second disaster” due to a lack of medical supplies, he warned.
The conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people and ravaged the country’s infrastructure. According to the UN, the population, more than 90% of whom lives below the poverty line, faces multiple acute crises such as hunger and cholera.