The slow UN earthquake response in northwest Syria is costing lives

By | February 10, 2023

Tessa Fox reports:

It took three days for the U.N. to announce it was readying a convoy of aid to northwest Syria, following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and its neighbors in the early hours of Monday morning.

While 79,110 search-and-rescue personnel, including international teams, had been deployed to Turkey’s east by Wednesday, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), those struggling for their lives under the rubble of their homes in northwest Syria could only wait for the overstretched Syria Civil Defence — the White Helmets — to attempt to rescue them.

Only 5% of the impacted sites and towns in northwest Syria are being covered by search-and-rescue operations, according to the U.N. By Thursday, cries for help from under the rubble had grown fainter.

The last 12 years have seen the international community fail in protecting the Syrian people from bombardment by the Bashar al-Assad regime and its ally, Russia. Access to aid, particularly for the 2.8 million people dependent on it in the northwestern enclave, has only become more limited. This week, the U.N. missed a vital chance to stand up to Moscow and Damascus and cease the politicization of aid. [Continue reading…]

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