After the earthquake: helpers are fighting against time – politics

After the earthquake: helpers are fighting against time – politics

Helpers from all over the world are in a race against time in the Turkish-Syrian disaster area or are on their way there. According to preliminary information, at least 7,200 people died in Monday’s devastating earthquake and more than 31,000 were injured. The consequences of the destruction could up to 23 million people in the Turkey and exposed in Syria, estimates the World Health Organization (WHO). In Turkey alone, 13.5 million people are affected, said City Minister Murat Kurum on Tuesday, “the pain is indescribable.”

Monday’s tremors reached magnitudes of 7.8. Hundreds of aftershocks continued to shake areas in southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Tuesday. Destroyed access roads and bad weather conditions are particularly difficult for the survivors and the rescuers. There will be high winds and snowfall, downpours are reported and temperatures will be around freezing. Because houses have collapsed or are in danger, many people have had to spend the night outdoors. In addition, there are power cuts like in Hatay in southern Turkey and the neighboring province of Osmaniye, so that even intact buildings are not heated.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a three-month state of emergency in the ten affected regions of the country, where around 6,000 buildings were destroyed. In view of the suffering and damage, the director of the aid organization Doctors of the World Germany, François De Keersmaeker, said “it cannot be put into figures”. He spoke to the dpa of “an unprecedented challenge”.

People continue to be rescued from the rubble. Normally, the survival limit for people buried under water is set at 72 hours, which is how long a person can survive without water. Now the cold is still a decisive factor. Doctors of the World boss De Keersmaeker said that because of such circumstances, his organization’s teams initially focused less on medical care and more on “survival strategies”.

By Tuesday noon, the EU had mobilized more than 30 search and rescue teams with 1,200 search and medical aid workers and more than 70 search dogs through its disaster relief center, a spokesman for the EU Commission said. 19 EU countries as well as Albania and Montenegro are involved in the efforts for Turkey coordinated by Brussels.

Earthquake: Helpers also flew to Turkey from the German organization Isar, an association of voluntary rescue specialists.

Helpers also flew to Turkey from the German organization Isar, an association of voluntary rescue specialists.

(Photo: Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters)

According to the Turkish disaster and emergency agency Afad, specialists for earthquake situations, relief supplies, medicine and rescue equipment are dispatched from 65 countries, with almost 2,700 employees. Afad itself has so far delivered 300,000 blankets, almost 42,000 family tents, heaters and kitchen sets. The USA is also sending helpers, as are Israel, India and Pakistan. China’s government provided Turkey with 5.5 million euros in emergency aid. Even Russia, which as an ally of dictator Bashar al-Assad in the civil war in Syria contributed much to the destruction of the cities with bombing raids.

The German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) sent a rescue team to Turkey on Tuesday. THW President Gerd Friedsam explained on ZDF that it should search for people who were buried and provide survival aid by supplying them with drinking water, food, tents, blankets and emergency power generators. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) assured Turkey of extensive help. “We are moving all the support that we can activate,” she said Rheinische Post. The federal police are also putting together a dog unit and a medical team, the minister said. In addition, cities, fire brigades and aid organizations have offered support, “which we are now coordinating closely in order to act in concert with Turkey,” says Faeser.

In northern Syria, helpers also face logistical problems

The situation is particularly difficult in areas of Syria that have been badly hit by the civil war. The UN said it was not possible to deliver essential supplies from Turkey to Syria for the time being due to damaged roads and other logistical problems. “We cannot yet say when it will continue,” said spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Madevi Sun-Suona. Doctors described the situation in northern Syria as “catastrophic and cruel”. In Idlib and the surrounding area there is a lack of heavy machinery for rescuing people who have been buried and of auxiliary material, said the dpa by Mainz doctor Gerhard Trabert, who is in contact with doctors in northern Syria.

More than 1,600 people were killed in Syria by Tuesday, roughly half in government-controlled areas and half in rebel-held areas in the northwest. The search was very slow due to a lack of forces and equipment and a storm overnight, said the opposition aid organization White Helmets. Hundreds of families are still buried and time is running out to save them, said White Helmet leader Raed al-Saleh.

Source link