By Emily Gianni
The earthquake that took place in southern Turkey and northern Syria is described as one of the deadliest earthquakes in the world since 2000. This has also become Turkey’s deadliest earthquake since 1939. This earthquake killed tens of thousands of people and sent the region into a huge recovery effort, especially since they were already struggling with a refugee crisis and over ten years of war. Since the earthquake on February 6, over 25,000 have died from this earthquake. In Turkey, the President said that more than 21,000 people died and in Syria, different health organizations said that over 3,500 people have died.
Millions of people need aid. In Syria alone, the United Nations said the earthquake affected 10.9 million people and 5.3 million of them may have lost their homes. Rescue workers have been working to pull survivors out of the rubble, but the chances of rescuing more people decline more and more every day.
In Turkey and Syria, people are facing power outages, shortages of fuel, food shortages and shortages of medical supplies. Turkey has imposed a three-month state of emergency. This national emergency has received 160,000 workers and 12,000 vehicles which will help dig through the rubble. Dozens of countries have sent teams and supplies to help with rescue and relief efforts.
Getting help to Syria has not been this easy because of the country’s civil war and the bitter relations between their president, Bashar al-Assad, and many western countries. The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres is helping Syria, but he said the greatest obstacle for delivering aid is access. The United Nations is negotiating with Syria’s government to make more deliveries of supplies to their country. The European Union said that they would help the U.N. as well.
The Syrian government has blamed the United States sanctions for deepening the humanitarian disaster that Syria has suffered since the earthquake. The U.S. Treasury Department issued a six-month exemption from sanctions for all transactions related to providing relief from the earthquake to Syria. In Turkey, the United States has sent more than 150 search-and-rescue personnel to Turkey. U.S. helicopters were also sent to look for more survivors.