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Meeting in Brussels to rebuild Turkey and Syria after deadly earthquakes

To mobilize in favor of the residents in Turkey and Syria, who were affected by the devastating earthquake of February 6; international donors are invited. The EU, in coordination with the Turkish authorities, is organizing today Monday (20/3) in Brussels a conference with the aim of gathering resources and coordinating rescue and reconstruction operations.

Millions of people saw their homes destroyed in the earthquake-hit areas of the southeast Turkey and the north Syriawhere a large number of refugees or displaced persons live.

According to a preliminary UN estimate, the cost of material damage alone in Turkey exceeds 100 billion dollars.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) denounced about 15 days ago the limited response to the UN’s emergency appeal in mid-February to raise more than one billion dollars for Turkey and almost $40 million for Syria.

So far only 16% of the funds requested for Turkey have been collected.

The non-governmental organization International Rescue Committee (IRC) called on donors to guarantee that these sums will be fully covered and that the resources will be able to reach “unhindered” the humanitarian organizations working on the ground.

“More than a month after the earthquake, the situation in the affected areas remains desperate. Many homes damaged or destroyed, many people who have no choice but to sleep in overcrowded and under-equipped shelters,” complained Tanya Evans, the IRC’s director for Syria, as reported by the Athens News Agency.

The EU has indicated that it intends to “make significant commitments” and called on its international partners to make “commitments commensurate with the damage done”.

The 7.8-magnitude quake, which was followed by an equally strong tremor nine hours later, killed nearly 48,500 people in Turkey, according to the latest official count. About 6,000 people have been killed in Syria.

Moreover, on Wednesday, floods occurred in the two Turkish provinces affected by the earthquake, as a result of which approximately 20 people lost their lives and intensified the suffering of the affected.

Assad and Moscow

The conference will start at 13:30 (local time, 14:30 Greece time) with the speeches of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristerson -whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU- as well as that of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan via teleconference.

On the contrary, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assadagainst whom the West has imposed sanctions since 2011, will not participate in the conference.

Although international aid arrived quickly in Turkey after the earthquake, humanitarian organizations faced many difficulties in trying to help the Syrian people, especially in Idlib province, which is under the control of Syrian rebels.

The EU and US have since eased sanctions on Syria, while Damascus has agreed to allow the UN to open two more border crossings with Turkey to allow aid to pass through.

Besides, many Arab countries sent aid to Syria and resumed their relations with Damascus.

Russia, a key ally of Damascus, has also been excluded from the conference because of its invasion of Ukraine.

Source: News Beast

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