The World’s Largest Annual Humanitarian Award–Funding the Council for Refugees, Disdisplaced People, and Conflict Prevention
Jan Egeland speaks in a calm manner than befits his four decades of humanitarian work, but he becomes increasingly animated when discussing the record number of people currently displaced because of humanitarian crises across the globe.
Last year we helped over 10 million refugees and displaced people; this year we need to reach even more. We need to be quicker and smarter in responding to crises, providing help for the long term and helping people become self-reliant as quickly as possible because the enemies are bigger and worse. We can only accomplish that with local colleagues, and the money will help us with staff development. In Afghanistan we have 1,400 humanitarian workers and just 25 of them are international. In general, 99% of our staff are non-Norwegian. This funding will also help us concentrate on conflict prevention, building on our longstanding mediation between warring ethnic groups or between farmers and herdsmen competing for land and water resources.
In recognition of these efforts, the council this year has been awarded the world’s largest annual humanitarian award for a nonprofit — worth $2.5 million.
This award could not have come at more important time for us because we are challenged like never before. A target for authoritarian regimes and parties to armed conflicts who don’t like the truth to be told has been made possible due to our advocacy for targeted civilians. With more authority and resources, we can do that. It’s a considerable sum of money, but of equal importance is the recognition and prestige. This is the best prize for humanitarian work.
Refugees, Aid, Security and Human Rights in the Middle East: An Overview from Norwegian Foreign Minister A.D. Zahra
Egeland is a former Norwegian foreign minister who held positions at Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross and the United Nations before becoming secretary general of the council. Upon returning from a trip to Somalia in June, he spoke with NPR about overlooked crises, equal protection for all refugees and reasons to hope.
Funds, awareness and basic items like food and clothing are needed by organizations on the ground. Zahra says that activists need to pressure the US and other countries to use disaster mechanisms and push for access to hard-to-reach communities.
Aid agencies are working to help millions of people with food, tents, warm winter clothing, blankets, mattresses, medical supplies and mental health support. There’s concern, though, that needs arising from other crises, like the war in Ukraine and Syria’s own protracted civil war, could affect that assistance over time.
The appeal doesn’t cover Russia. Its figures, which are largely drawn from numbers provided by national governments, show that more than 2.8 million refugees from Ukraine have been taken in by Russia.
The NRC has been in Ukraine since the conflict broke out, but now it is very bad with the destruction of entire cities. Some areas have become more stable where we are able to help the internally displaced, and Ukrainians are now returning from abroad after initially fleeing. At the same time, others continue to be driven out from the south and the east of the country. I don’t know if I will fear for the winter. Millions will be freezing soon so we are preparing a winterization program and strengthening logistic lines from the neighboring states.
It’s a good thing that we want to help our neighbor who looks like us, has the same religion and can easily integrate in our societies but we should give protection according to need. In Europe people from the Middle East or Afghanistan are met with a cold shoulder and barbed wire whereas Ukrainians are welcomed. In the U.S., women and children who flee violence in their home countries don’t always get well received. This is a battle of values, and we must stand squarely on the side of those who need protection.
We are able to live and breathe by humanitarian principles. This means we must teach our colleagues that they shouldn’t get close to a government that is involved in the conflict. But at the same time, we still need to have the respect, and the protection, of those parties. We always try to work on all sides – it pains me that we’re not able to work in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.
It is now over a year since the West left Afghanistan, leaving behind 40 million mainly women and children, and they need our solidarity now more than ever. There must be a dialogue between the de facto authorities and the donor countries on issues such as minority protection. The very wrong response is to impose sanctions that do not take away food from Taliban soldiers but do make women and children starve.
Yes, I’m afraid of that. It’s the first time in recorded history that 100 million people have been displaced by war. In 2011, it was 40 million. This year, as many children as ever, are going to bed hungry. We need some countries to recognize that while they are struggling with high energy prices and nationalistic tendencies at home, it is significantly worse in the areas where we operate.
It’s dramatic. I watched mothers and fathers walking hundreds of kilometers for food and water. We need development, investment, resilience and better use of existing resources. The BricS is a group of nine national and international NGOs formed to balance short-term humanitarian needs with longer-term community preparedness. I witnessed dams being built, and bore holes equipped with solar-powered pumps so people can start to feed themselves independently.
Give money to the international NGOs. Write to politicians to say we want to live by elementary rules of compassion and solidarity. Reach out to those refugees and migrants who come to our communities, befriend them, help them integrate.
It is a time of terrible things. Never have there been so many displaced by violence and conflict, and so many with no chance to feed themselves. Climate change, COVID and conflict have merged to create a lethal cocktail. The good news is that there have never been more effective national and international humanitarian and development organizations. Never have there been as many billionaires, so there should be a possibility for us to elevate the bottom two billion people. The people at the very top have a lot of resources, which could have aided us in reaching people in need.
Whenever I visit my colleagues in difficult and dangerous situations, I’m back an optimistic person. We have now helped more than a million children go to school and when I ask them what they want to become when they are older, they don’t want to be fighters or soldiers or terrorists or criminals; they all want to be doctors, engineers, farmers and builders.
The Kahramanmaras earthquake: A reminder of what science is about – and what science can we do – in Turkey and Syria
KAHRAMANMARAS, Turkey — Rescuers have pulled more survivors from the debris of the Feb. 6 earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria even as the window for finding people alive shrank.
Turkish President Recep Tayypi Erdogan, on a tour of quake-stricken cities, raised the death toll in Turkey to 21,848, which pushed the total number of dead across the region, including government and rebel-held parts of Syria, to 25,401.
Turkey’s President said that there was a “great disaster” when he visited the city of Kahramanmaras on Wednesday. There is growing public anger that the rescue response has been slow, and Erdogan acknowledged there were shortfalls by his government in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Winter weather conditions and destroyed infrastructure were cited as complicating factors by the president.
In the city of Antakya, resident Hamideh Mansulolu stood outside what used to be the seven-story residential building where she lived with her family, waiting to hear whether her son, Sedat, survived.
Aid has begun flowing into Turkey and Syria from around the world, but organizations are struggling to reach the most vulnerable. Rescue teams are out in the cold trying to reach survivors even though the hope of finding them alive is fading.
The UN cross-border mechanism from Turkey allows the UN and its partners to provide aid without the permission of the Syrian government.
Turkey’s national emergency management agency, AFAD, has distributed a huge quantity of tents — with the help of more than 238,000 relief workers — but the sheer scale of the disaster has meant many still lack shelter.
The earthquake disaster assistance team manager said that events like this reminded them of how important scientific research is and how to enforce policy and set best practices.
Empirical study of earthquake damage in Syria: the impact of a magnitude-6.5 earthquake on the buildings of the northern city of Gaziantep
Most of Turkey sits on the Anatolian plate between two major faults: the North Anatolian Fault and the East Anatolian Fault. The southern part of the plate that carries Arabia is moving north while the northern part is squeezing Turkey out to the west. “Turkey is moving west about 2 centimetres per year along the East Anatolian Fault,” he adds. Half of the fault is lit up by earthquakes.
In 1999, a magnitude-7.4 earthquake hit 11 kilometres southeast of Izmit, Turkey, killing more than 17,000 people and leaving more than 250,000 homeless. The Turkish government made a compulsory earthquake insurance system after the tragedy. However, many of the buildings affected by this week’s quake were built before 2000, says Mustafa Erdik, a civil engineer at Boğaziçi University, Turkey.
In a study1 published last March in Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Arzu Arslan Kelam at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, and her colleagues suggested that the centre of the city of Gaziantep would experience medium-to-severe damage from a magnitude-6.5 earthquake. This is because most existing buildings are low-rise brick structures that are constructed very close to each other.
Things are worse in Syria, where more than 11 years of conflict have made building standards impossible to enforce. The earthquake struck Syria’s northwestern regions, with buildings collapsing in Aleppo and Idlib. Some war- damaged buildings in Syria have been rebuilt using materials that are not high quality. “They might have fallen down more readily than things that were built at somewhat greater expense. We’ve yet to find out,” he adds.
The Country Director for Med Global said those who are still alive under the rubble might die from the cold.
The organization has other hubs around the world, but its facility in Dubai, with 20 warehouses, is its largest by far. From here, the organization is sending planeloads of medicine, infusions for intravenous drips and anesthesia, surgical instruments, splints and stretchers, to help with crushing-type injuries from the earthquake.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, arrived in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, bringing with him 35 tons of medical equipment, state news agency SANA reported. He said there would be another plane carrying 30 tons of medical equipment arriving in the coming days.
Color-coded labels help identify which kits are for malaria, cholera, Ebola and polio for countries in need around the world. Green labels are reserved for emergency health kits — those for Istanbul and Damascus.
The WHO’s emergency operations team used trauma and emergency surgery kits in their response to the earthquake.
Blanchard is a former firefighter from California who worked in the Foreign Service and U.S. Agency for International Development before joining the WHO in Dubai. He claims that the organization has immense logistical challenges in reaching victims of the earthquake but their warehouses help deliver aid quickly to countries in need.
Our team of White Helmets volunteer rescue workers in northwest Syria have been working around the clock night and day, pulling survivors from the rubble and searching for signs of life — with virtually no help from the outside world.
“The weather conditions are now not looking so great. So it just depends on the condition of the roads, the availability of the trucks and then the permission to cross the border and deliver the humanitarian aid,” he says.
The International Humanitarian City: Bringing the World’s largest humanitarian hub to bear witness to a crisis of the 2008 September 11 earthquake
“They’re not able to go home because they haven’t been given the okay to do it by an engineer,” she says. They are living in the office and trying to do work at the same time.
The WHO’s warehouses are part of a 1.5 million square-ft. zone of Dubai known as International Humanitarian City, the largest humanitarian hub in the world. The zone is also home to warehouses for the U.N. refugee agency, World Food Program, Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations, UNICEF and others.
The cost of storage facilities, utilities, and flights to carry relief items into the affected areas are covered by the government of Dubai. The inventory is procured by the agencies themselves.
Saba says $150 million worth of emergency stock and assistance is dispatched every year to between 120 and 150 countries. That includes personal protective equipment, tents, food and other critical items needed in climate disasters, medical emergencies and global outbreaks, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reason for the hub becoming the largest one in the world is because of its strategic position. Two-thirds of the world’s population live in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa, and you can serve those people with a few hours’ flight from the city of Dubai.
There was a problem with the plane’s engine which kept WHO supplies out of Damascus. Blanchard says the organization is trying for direct flights to Syria’s government-controlled airport in Aleppo, a situation he describes as “evolving by the hour.”
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Analysts warn that the Syrians who were affected by the earthquake might become hostages of the politics which have divided the country for over a decade.
Mai El-Sadany, a Washington-based human rights lawyer and Managing Editor at the Takhir Institute for Middle East Policy, said that the Assad regime has systematically sucked off aid and prevented it from reaching non-regime areas. “The international community must urgently find ways to ensure that emergency assistance and support reaches the people of northwest Syria.”
Turkey is a NATO member whose international stature has only grown in recent years. Syria, on the other hand, is ruled by a myriad of disparate groups. Iran and Russia are its closest allies because of the brutal suppression of the uprising there that started in 2011.
The Western countries don’t like the Syrian regime. Regional states welcome Assad back into the fold as he forges ties with his former enemies. Last year, the United Arab Emirates welcomed Assad in Abu Dhabi, and last month Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the pair may soon meet for peace talks.
The UN let down people in northwest Syria by failing to act promptly according to I met with Griffiths on Sunday. “We have so far failed the people in north-west Syria. They feel left out. Looking for international help that hasn’t arrived,” Griffiths said on Twitter on Sunday.
According to the UN, activists and observers are concerned that the regime could hamper timely aid to thousands of earthquake victims in rebel-held areas.
Humanitarian crises and years of conflict in rebel-held parts of Syria has made it difficult for the international aid to arrive and make life harder for survivors who lack food, shelter and medicine.
Madevi Sun-Suon, a UN OHCA spokesman, told CNN on Tuesday that they are exploring all avenues to reach people in need. “We do have aid but this road issue is a big challenge as of now.”
Saudi-Haibah relations after three years of diplomatic boycott of Turkey and Saudi-Arab emir: Saudi-Belarus versus Bahrain in 2021
But the Syrian government says it needs more – and has called for sanctions placed on the country to be lifted. A number of Western countries have imposed embargoes on trade with Syria.
The UN human rights expert called on the government of Syria to immediately lift the sanctions against it.
“It would be quite ironic, if not even counterproductive, for us to reach out to a government that has brutalized its people over the course of a dozen years now – gassing them, slaughtering them, being responsible for much of the suffering that they have endured,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told a media briefing on Monday.
If sanctions are dropped, there would be a big change to the situation.
Iran seeks to protect its military assets from air strikes by Israel and provided details about a new underground base that houses drones in May.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Tuesday he was ready to restart stalled negotiations over Sweden’s application to join NATO as soon as Turkey was, Reuters reported.
Background: Finland and Sweden sought NATO membership shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, and while most member states have ratified the applications, Turkey has yet to give its approval in what must be a unanimous process. Turkey said last week that it looks positively onFinlands application, but it does not supportSwedens application.
The three nations reached an agreement on a way forward last year but Ankara stopped talks because of the uproar caused by the Quran burning in Sweden. Turkey goes to elections in May.
The move comes after an apparent thaw in relations. Bahrain’s crown prince spoke with Qatar’s emir in a phone call last month, in a sign the two Gulf states could move towards repairing relations two years after the Arab boycott was lifted. The conversation came after the Qatari emir and Bahrain’s king attended a small Arab summit hosted by the UAE’s president in Abu Dhabi.
Background: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt ended a three-year political and economic boycott of Qatar in January 2021. But since then there have been no bilateral discussions between Doha and Manama to resolve remaining differences. All but Bahrain restored travel and trade links in 2021.
The Quran, the Queen, and the Waiting Times for International Humanists: Twitter Attacks on AlMosahf (The Quran)
AlMosahf (The Quran), an account that tweeted snippets from the Islamic holy book, had more than 13 million followers before Twitter took action against it.
One user addressed Musk, saying: “I don’t think it violated the Twitter rules because its tweets are quoted from the Holy Quran. We demand the lifting of the suspension of this account.”
Not all users were upset with the suspension. Some people decried the account for taking out of context incomplete Quranic verses that they said change the meaning of the text.
The account owner runs sister accounts in English, French, and German which are used to post translations of Quranic verse. The sister account is trying to get the original account unblocked.
Half of northwestern Syria’s 4.6 million population has been forced out of their homes by the conflict, with 1.7 million now living in tents and refugee camps in the region, according to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF. Last year, the agency reported 3.3 million Syrians in the area were food insecure.
The only humanitarian aid corridor between Turkey and Syria was crossed on Thursday, when six trucks carrying shelter items and non-food items crossed through the Bab Al Hawa crossing.
The delivery ended a three-day period during which no aid arrived – just 300 bodies, according to the administration that controls the only access point between the two countries.
Immediately after the quake, the United Nations said roads to the crossing were blocked, but as of Wednesday they were clear, raising questions as to why it was taking so long for help to arrive.
The Second Worldquake: Bringing Aid to the Dwarf Cities, the Refugees, and the Survivors in Idlib
Abu Muhammad Sakhour, a former merchant, is volunteering as a nurse in the rebel-held city of Idlib, dressing wounds for quake victims and checking up on the injured who have been discharged from crowded hospitals.
At the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, protesters hold signs asking why only bodies are being allowed through. The bodies belong to Syrian refugees who sought safety in Turkey and are now being sent back to be buried on home soil.
Muhammad Atqi is living out of his car in Gaziantep, Turkey, with his family, but is still in touch with his colleagues in Syria. He said hospitals there have been overwhelmed with bodies, and staff are waiting for families to come and identify them, so they can be taken away.
But survivors are facing their own challenges each day as water supplies dwindle and disease threatens to spread. Moutaz Adham, Oxfam’s country director for Syria, said residents are struggling to find food – even bread is hard to come by because so many bakeries collapsed in the quake.
Time and again Russia has used its veto at the Security Council to shut border crossings, reducing the routes for delivery of cross-border aid via Turkey to a single entry. Opening additional crossings on a temporary basis is not enough — more cross-border routes were already sorely needed.
Russia and China have had the power to limit the number of Bab al-Hawa crossings from four to one. In January, less than one month before the quake, the UNSC unanimously voted to keep it open, a vote reluctantly backed by China and Russia, whose ambassador said it enabled aid to flow to a Syrian enclave “inundated with terrorists.”
We don’t need the politics. We don’t need the game playing that’s going on. Barnes said we need for the international community to be focused on keeping the border crossing open. We are past the first phase of finding people and moving into the humanitarian phase. We need to provide people with basic shelter, food, and water.”
According to El-MOSTFA BEN LAMPLIH, there were 15.3 million people in need of aid before the earthquake hit and now the number will have to be revised.
The homeless in north Syria have been sleeping in their cars, as an aid worker told CNN on Thursday.
Aid to displaced civilians in Syria after the 2004 Sept. 11 earthquakes: an overview through the impact of the disaster and its humanitarian consequences
The disaster in Syria is being used as a ticket to remove sanctions, according to an executive director of a research organization. “If we want to bring aid to Syria, we can. It is critical to have time. We are playing with life and death.”
In the US, the earthquake – compounded by 12 years of devastating war – is also taking an emotional toll on Syrians who feel helpless watching from afar.
Meanwhile, “Syrians don’t know where their next meal comes from. When we say a meal, we are not talking about vegetables or meat. it’s about simple bread,” said Moutaz Adham, Oxfam’s country director for Syria.
ISTANBUL — Rescuers continue to search for bodies from underneath thousands of toppled buildings in southern Turkey, and more than 380,000 people in the region have been left homeless.
Istanbul’s stock exchange closed until Feb. 15 after initial trading showed rapid declines, triggering a circuit breaker when declines reached 7%. The Turkish economy had been hit hard by inflation.
A crowd sings “Allahu akbar”, Arabic for “God is Great.” Volunteers and civil defense groups — themselves earthquake survivors — pull a boy out from the rubble alive in rebel-held northwestern Syria.
NPR was able to reach Kellieh on Wednesday by phone. There is a part of Syria that is under opposition control. He said there are many buildings in that area that have collapsed. People are in the streets in the freezing cold, waiting for aid to arrive. Buildings are still unlivable because of after shocks.
“Humanitarian aid and international aid haven’t appeared 72 hours after the catastrophic earthquake,” he said, describing the little help that is trickling into the region as a haphazard grassroots effort by individual groups.
“Rescue efforts are being carried out by poorly equipped civil defense groups and civilians are trying to help,” Kelliah said. Everyone is waiting for aid and rescue to be available so they can digest the enormity of what happened.
Our hope of finding survivors has faded. As we pull more corpses out of the rubble, my heart breaks for those that could have been saved and those that would’ve been lost if we had gotten help in time.
“The situation remains grim in north-west Syria where only five percent of reported sites are being covered by search and rescue,” the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.
Aid to earthquake-displaced Syrian civilians in Turkey — the role of the government and the civil society, and Assad’s message to the world
But critics like Ozel point out that national funds meant for natural disasters like this one were instead spent on highway construction projects managed by associates of Erdogan and his coalition government.
The 1999 earthquake in Turkey caused more than 18,000 deaths and the authorities imposed an earthquake tax to help protect the population from future disasters.
Rescue efforts in Turkey have been hampered by the fact that there are many restrictions on how individual cities and aid groups can operate in the country. (Turkey’s embassies, meanwhile, along with an array of nongovernmental organizations and cultural associations, are collecting donations internationally.)
With an election expected by June, Ozel says Erdogan has already been weakened by out-of-control inflation in Turkey. “I’m pretty sure the government will be one of the victims under the rubble of this earthquake,” Ozel predicts.
An 18-year-old high school student named Emrihan Korkmak is working on an aid effort. Schools throughout Turkey have been ordered closed to mourn victims of the earthquake and so that people like Korkmaz can help out.
“We’ve managed to load 18 semitrucks and send them to the earthquake zone. They’re filled with blankets, clothes, but there is a more urgent need for food,” he says, as he loads a box underneath a banner with the image of Erdogan hanging from the ceiling. “However we can get it to them, it doesn’t matter. People need food.
“They’ve accomplished what they’re able to do,” says Somezley, when asked whether the government has done enough to help victims. It is not time to talk about politics, but about helping people who need it.
People have no shelter in the cold temperatures of the large region. The Turkish government has provided food as well as tents and blankets, but it’s still hard to reach the people who need it most.
Standing near a building destroyed by the earthquake, Assad told reporters that Western countries “have no regard for the human condition.” The comment is in line with other statements made by Syria’s state-run media who have blamed the lack of humanitarian aid on Western sanctions.
SANA showed pictures of Assad and his wife Asma at the hospital in the city, where they visited survivors of the earthquake.
The long-running civil war in northern Syria has made it difficult to deliver urgent supplies to the areas hit by earthquakes. The Foreign Minister of Syria said that any aid it gets must go through Damascus.
Governments around the world are pledging assistance, deploying search teams, medical squads and equipment, and offering aid, as families who have lost their homes endure near-freezing temperatures.
Investigating the legitimacy of non-profits for long-term assistance: a case study of OXFAM and the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations
Before you make a donation, especially to a lesser-known organization, you should do some research to make sure it is reputable. Sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar grade nonprofits based on transparency and effectiveness. You can use the IRS to find out if an organization can receive tax-deductible contributions.
And if you suspect an organization or individual of committing fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, part of the Justice Department.
Global Giving, which helps local nonprofit agencies, is collecting donations to help fund emergency medical workers’ ability to provide food, shelter and medicine, among other necessities. The organization will focus on long-term assistance as the needs change.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies wants to give immediate cash assistance from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund.
OXFAM, an international organization that fights poverty, said it is working with women’s cooperatives in Turkey to determine an appropriate immediate and long-term response plan. It is accepting donations.
Care, which works with the poor, is accepting donations in lieu of cash that will go toward things like food, shelter and hygiene kits.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, which since 2012 has provided medical relief and health care services inside Syria and to Syrian refugees in Turkey, is collecting money.
Rescue of a family trapped in the rubble: Mohammed Juma’s daughter, his daughter, and children in the town of Sawran
Mohammed Juma survived the collapse of his family’s home but still sleeps on the heap of rubble. In the freezing nights, the 20-year-old and others in this town — still dazed and in shock — burn possessions found in the debris for heat.
Without the proper equipment, residents of the town of Jinderis heard the screams of those trapped under the rubble, but they were powerless to save them.
The Jumas said their home collapsed on top of them, but that their wife, daughter, and children were all alive. Juma and his neighbors pulled at the shattered concrete for hours until their hands bled, but the effort was futile.
The Syrian civil defense team are using the little excavators they have to recover dead people. At least 850 bodies had been pulled from the rubble in Jinderis on Friday. Zakaria Tabakh, 26, remembers cuddling his son, 2-year-old Abdulhadi, to sleep and laying him in his bed, where he was killed by the falling debris. Tabakh’s wife died in the bed beside him. He said that few friends were able to come to the burial because they were too busy burying their own loved ones.
They’ve been left without a country after years of war. Tens of thousands now live with almost no access to basic services in makeshift tents set up in the olive groves where the mud clogs and weighs down the legs of children playing outside.
Less than one hour’s drive from one of the open border crossings, the town of Sawran now has no running water. On one side of the main street is the destroyed home of the Turki family, where nine people, including five children died. Across the road a family of seven were killed. Neighbors said they had moved to Sawran after fleeing their home in Khan Sheikhoun, where in 2017 the Syrian government attacked the population with the nerve agent Sarin, killing 89 people.
Dramatic rescues were being broadcast on Turkish television, including the rescue of the Narli family in central Kahramanmaras 133 hours after the 7.8-magnitude temblor struck Monday. First, 12-year-old Nehir Naz Narli was saved, then both of her parents.
That followed the rescue of a family of five from a pile of debris in the hard-hit town of Nurdagi in Gaziantep province. Rescuers cheered and chanted, “God is Great!” The father, the last family member, was taken to safety.
Turkey-syria-earthquake death toll survivors: a woman’s extrication and one child’s intubation in Hatay
“In some parts of our settlements close to the fault line, we can say that almost no stone was left standing,” he said earlier Saturday from Diyarbakir.
Melisa Ulku, a woman in her 20s, was extricated from the rubble in Elbistan in the 132th hour since the quake, following the rescue of another person at the same site in the same hour. Police warned that people shouldn’t cheer or clap in order to avoid interfering with other rescue efforts nearby. She was covered in a thermal blanket on a stretcher. Rescuers were touching each other. Some shouted “God is great!”
Just an hour earlier, a 3-year-old girl with her father were pulled from debris in Islahiye, in Gaziantep province, and soon after a 7-year-old girl was recovered in the province of Hatay.
The rescues brought shimmers of joy days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and a powerful aftershock caused thousands of buildings to collapse, killing more than 25,000 people and leaving millions homeless.
Not everything ended so well. Rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl inside the debris of a collapsed building in Hatay province early Saturday and intubated her. But she died before the medical teams could amputate a limb and free her from the rubble, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
As aid continued to arrive, a 99-member group from the Indian Army’s medical assistance team began treating the injured in a temporary field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was demolished.
Wincing in pain, he said he had been rescued from his collapsed apartment building in the nearby city of Antakya within hours of the quake on Monday. He wasn’t given proper treatment for his injuries after receiving basic first aid.
Search-and-rescue operations in Turkey have been suspended for security reasons, the United Hatzalah, a rescue dog handler, and CNN reported on Sunday
″I buried (everyone that I lost), then I came here,” Canbulat said, counting his dead relatives: “My daughter is dead, my sibling died, my aunt and her daughter died, and the wife of her son” who was 8 ½ months pregnant.
A large makeshift graveyard was under construction on the outskirts of Antakya on Saturday. Backhoes and bulldozers dug pits in the field on the northeastern edge of the city as trucks and ambulances loaded with black body bags arrived continuously. Soldiers directing traffic on the busy adjacent road warned motorists not to take photographs.
A worker with Turkey’s Ministry of Religious Affairs who did not wish to be identified because of orders not to share information with the media said that around 800 bodies were brought the cemetery on Friday, its first day of operation. By midday on Saturday, he said, as many as 2,000 had been buried.
“People who are coming out from the rubble now, it’s a miracle if they survive. Most of the people that come out now are dead, and they come here,” he said.
The White Helmets, who announced the end of their search and rescue operations on Friday, told CNN on Saturday that the total number of dead was expected to rise much higher.
German rescue operations in Turkey, which were halted on Saturday due to security concerns, “in general” remain suspended for these reasons, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) told CNN on Sunday.
The United Hatzalah, a search-and-rescue group in Israel, said Sunday that it was leaving Turkey due to a security threat.
The United Hatzalah executive and the vice president of operations said in a statement that they received a threat on the Israeli delegation and that they needed to protect their personnel.
“We knew that there was a certain level of risk in sending our team to this area of Turkey, which is close to the Syrian border but we took the necessary steps in order to mitigate the threat for the sake of our lifesaving mission,” Maisel said.
The Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit (AFDRU) said a rescue dog handler was again helping Turkish rescue workers, with Turkish forces providing security in the search areas.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Sunday that it was the first group to send a team to provide mental-health support to earthquake victims in Syria. A group of Palestinians and local volunteers are helping kids and their families who have suffered severe trauma and depression due to the earthquake.
Children have had difficult times since the earthquake. The statement said that after physical survival,psychological support teams of the Palestinian Red Crescent are working to improve their psychological survival.
He says the voice messages that he has received chronicle their pain and make it impossible to sleep. He is haunted by the cries and is haunted by guilt. He worries that many of the people he knows who are buried in Syria are still alive when he rests.
Talking to CNN, Al-Dahhan said it was destroying him. “When it happened, I was receiving constant voice messages, jumping from number to number on WhatsApp, each one is someone crying, telling me they are seeing people dying around them. I can not stop hearing them.
Al-Dahhan, a Syrian-American aid worker for Mercy-USA, a Michigan-based non-profit working in communities across the globe, has spent the past week traveling around the United States to raise money for earthquake relief. So far, he says he has raised $100,000 by fundraising at schools, places of worship and efforts on social media.
Meanwhile, on the ground, the colleagues who survived have been in a desperate race against time to rescue those still trapped under the rubble and deliver relief to shell-shocked survivors.
The exhaustion is evident in the voice of Al-Dahhan who says he has not eaten or slept since the earthquake.
“At least I get a little bit of relief, knowing what I’m doing matters, because the more I can fundraise here, the more it helps out there,” he said. “But I am in constant stress that I’m not doing enough and I need to keep going. When I sleep, I feel guilty. I need to be awake every second. I have to be working. I want to get more updates. I feel like I’m operating here, but my mind and soul are there.”
The earthquake of Latakia left a fatherless and orphaned, and Syria raised money to help relieve mental-health needs for Syrians
Another story is about a family that lost two sisters in the earthquake, leaving their children orphaned. When their brother learned of his sisters’ deaths, Al-Dahhan says, he suffered a heart attack from the shock and died – also leaving his children fatherless.
“My mind started racing and I immediately thought it was an Israeli airstrike, since we have had a few of those in Latakia over the past few years,” Alsamman, 27, told CNN. When I saw the reports of the massive earthquake in the middle of the night, I wish it had only been an airstrike.
He spent the day in agony, watching photographs of dead and dying people on his phone, without knowing if his family or friends were still alive.
“It felt like no one was there for them, no aid was coming through, the only organizations able to provide aid were the ones already there,” Al-Dahhan said.
When the chance to rescue survivors diminished, Syrians in the US panicked and started raising money for organizations on the ground.
Nour Al Ghraowi moved to New York City from Damascus, Syria, after the civil war that began in 2011; she is now working for the Karam Foundation.
Even though no one has talked about them on a larger scale it seems that organizations and people are still fighting for them who never stopped fighting for them, said Al Ghraowi.
Most of the deaths were in the northwest part of the country, a region struggling to rebuild vital infrastructure heavily damaged in the civil war, which according to the UN has claimed 300,000 lives since 2011.
Zahra emphasized the need to provide immediate needs such as food, shelter, non-food items and medicine, but said it was important to provide mental-health care for Syrians.
She says Syrians in the US and the country experience feelings of being abandoned and forgotten, one of the biggest problems contributing to their mental health issues.
She said it is natural to have that reinforcement of asking themselves, do I matter or are I going to be forgotten again? Will I just be a picture that iscirculated but not humanized?
The Earthquake Trigger for Some Syrians: Why Is Syria Failt? What Happened to Syria, When Did People Lose Their Homes During World War II?
Pictures and videos of buildings collapsing during the earthquake and similar images of civilians being killed in the war have triggered a psychological Trigger for some, including Al-Dahhan.
The war messed me up, so I built walls. I didn’t want to get hurt like that again,” Al-Dahhan said. “But with this earthquake, I feel those walls crumbling. I am remembering things I don’t want to remember, and I can’t think of anything else.
Others, like Zahra and Alsamman, say they are struggling with survivor’s guilt, possessed with a relentless, sinking feeling that no matter how much they help it won’t be enough.
“As Syrians we don’t have time to mourn or process our grief because we are trying to keep Syria in the news, keep Syria in conversation,” she said.
Please don’t get distracted, please donate, please help, because we don’t have time to heal those wounds.
The story of a woman who hid in the rubble: Raed Al Saleh, the White Helmets, and the Red Crescent
The workers searching for bodies across the street were discouraged by the time it took for the building to fall. Ms. Omac, 38, said she had relatives under the debris: a niece and nephew of her husband. She was waiting for the rescuers to save their loved ones.
Many people cobbled debris together to erect what they could: One family, numbering about a dozen, built a shelter of cardboard and tarp over a flatbed truck, with blankets and thin mattresses in the beds.
The Turkish Red Crescent, a humanitarian group, said it was speeding up the production of tents to house people after Turkish news media reported a shortage of temporary housing and poor sanitary conditions for the homeless.
Martin Griffiths, the top humanitarian chief at the United Nations, said on Monday that the window for rescuing people from the rubble was “coming to a close,” and that the focus was moving to providing homes, food, schooling and psychological care to victims.
Editor’s Note: Raed Al Saleh is head of The White Helmets, a group of nearly 3,000 volunteers working to save lives and strengthen communities in Syria. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.
We are the only organization in this area that knows how to search and rescue. I am grateful for the dedication and hard work of the volunteers.
The Syrian Civil Defense Response to the June 7th Earthquake: The United Nations, the Security Council, and the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Griffiths told Sky News over the weekend that the UN was asking the Security Council to authorize aid access through two additional border crossings, a misguided approach that wasted precious time. Legal analysts and scholars have argued against it, and humanitarian organizations say the need is too high for aid entry to be politicized.
The United Nations needs to do better. Something is clearly broken if the very system that was set up to protect and save human lives during an emergency leaves children to die under the rubble as precious minutes and hours pass.
As we searched through the rubble of thousands of buildings, it was the local affected communities that helped us most: lending their cars and heavy vehicles to the response, helping to dig, and donating fuel they could have used to keep themselves warm.
A week after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey, rescue teams are hearing voices from under the rubble, offering hope that more people will survive.
Rescuers are trying to save three sisters buried under the debris after live images broadcast on CNN affiliate CNNTurk showed them.
Rescuers pulled two people from the rubble on Tuesday, a day after they rescued a 10-year-old girl who had been buried for around 185 hours.
Eight days after the tremor and its violent aftershocks, more than 36,000 people have been confirmed dead and survival stories are becoming few and far between.
After announcing an end to their search and rescue operation last week, the “White Helmets” group, officially known as Syria Civil Defense, on Monday declared a seven-day mourning period in rebel-controlled areas in the north of the country.
The UN said it was happy that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decided to open more border crossing with Turkey and Syria to allow aid into northern Syria.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay on Tuesday denied reports of food and aid shortages. He said there were no problems with feeding the public and that millions of blankets were being sent to everyone in the area.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said more than 9,200 foreign personnel are taking part in the country’s search and rescue operations, while 100 countries have offered help so far.
The U.N.’s humanitarian aid and refugee agencies have asked for $5.6 billion to help millions of people displaced by the Russian invasion of their country.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is the bulk of the joint appeal, which is aimed at helping more than 11 million people.
The combined appeal is one of the largest of this kind for a single country, and it could draw a large amount of funds from Western countries. Most U.N. appeals aren’t fully funded.
Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, said they were well funded last year. “I think the refugee appeal was funded in excess of 70% — not total, but quite good. We know that it will last.
“Of course, this is not the only crisis in the world,” Grandi added. “There are many more that deserve it, since I’m just back from Ethiopia.” Who talks about the country of Burundi? It’s true and people need support even more around the world.
“The people who are going to have the most effect on the rescue is going to be your neighbors. Forrest Lanning told NPR that they are the ones who are right there when it happens. He’s a liaison to earthquakes, volcanos, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
According to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey, prevention and Mitigation are the most effective ways to minimize disaster losses.
The window of opportunity to save people trapped under collapsed buildings “will start to close pretty fast and by the time you get around day four or five, it’s done,” Lanning said.
Natalie Simpson, professor and chair of operations management and strategy at the University at Buffalo School of Management, said that responders can still locate people if a bystander isn’t able to rescue them.
“It takes a long time at each building, to have to listen and carefully remove pieces of the building debris to get to people,” Lanning said. He said there were thousands and thousands of buildings in Turkey.
The Community Emergency Response Team in the U.S. — Is It Necessary? “It’s Hard to Get a New Window”
Knowing the importance of quick, local aid, the Community Emergency Response Team was developed in the U.S. It’s a FEMA program that trains volunteers across all 50 states with basic disaster response skills.
It teaches people what to do after a major earthquake, where to get water after an emergency, how to check on immobile neighbors, and how to search collapsed buildings, Lanning said.
There are factors, like types of injuries and how many search and rescue teams are on the scene, that contribute to how likely a trapped person is to survive. He noted that if a trapped individual is uninjured or has minor injuries, they can last up to a week under a collapsed building.
Simpson with the University at Buffalo would like to have rescue crews and the military available to help when disaster strikes. She said that it wasn’t always the case in Turkey and Syria.
The Turkish government has been criticized for its response. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has admitted “the first day we had some discomforts,” but had insisted by the second and third days “the situation got under control.”
“The single, biggest failure point in emergency response is failure to pick up on the fact that this is an emergency,” Simpson said. The instinct is to wait to get more information.
“With emergencies, all of them, including the aftermath of an earthquake, you’re not in Kansas anymore,” she said. “These are not normal conditions and so one of the traps that we fall into is, ‘Oh God, what’s the best thing to do at this moment?’ Stop it with ‘best.’ It’s all good. Let’s get moving.”
She said that the military is best able to operate in the midst of a disaster and open a runway to get aid in the shortest time possible.
But the Turkish government failed to immediately mobilize its military to aid in the direct rescue efforts or to establish those all-important field hospitals and airstrips, according to an analysis published by the Middle East Institute, a nonprofit think tank.
She said that it’s never too early for your large-scale response to be activated when you don’t have any information from a region. “I think that that will make an impression on decision-makers elsewhere, that will actually help people in the future.”
In the aftermath of two large earthquakes in Turkey in 1999 and 2011, it was necessary to retrofit the country’s building construction to combat future disasters.
The type of construction and buildings in that area make for a lot of the damage, which is mostly concrete.
Concrete buildings do not have the best reputation when it comes to earthquake resistance. They are very easy to construct and can easily hide imperfections, he said.
An emotional exchange between a man and his friend in the wake of a devastating earthquake: A video of the rescue of Avci, a third man, pulled from the rubble
Much of the work to analyze this latest disaster and what went wrong or right will come in the following months and years. Lanning said it’s incredibly valuable work.
How is my mom and all of us? The man on the stretcher is talking into his cell phone. His friend was very upset when he said everyone was well and he was coming to him.
The rescue of Avci, who was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building on February 6th, was an emotional exchange that followed.
The Turkish Health Minister released a video showing the call Avci and his friend made to each other 11 days after the earthquake.
As the death toll across Turkey and Syria rose to at least 43,885 people, the rescue of Avci late on Thursday night came.
In the video, Avci can be seen wearing a neck brace and appears wide-eyed with hope as he asks: “Did everyone escape okay…? Let me hear their voices if for a moment.”
Koca, the minister, said both Avci and a second man, Mehmet Ali Sakiroglu, 26, were rescued around the same time from under the ruins of a private hospital building.
Aydinli believed his rescue workers were hallucinating, and that the boy had died with his eyes open. The child cried out. I do not feel my legs. Save me!”
Aydinli said they get tears in their eyes every now and then because of the boy’s rescue. “He is quite well and conscious. Hopefully, he will get better.”
A lot of lives have been saved, people have been pulled out of rubble by their sons, daughters and mothers, and many have been saved by their friends. Frontline health workers have done amazing work in both countries,” the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergencies director, Mike Ryan, told a briefing in Geneva on Wednesday.
More than 11 days after a powerful earthquake struck Hatay province, rescuers removed the last surviving person from the rubble of a building in the district of Defne.
Hakan had spent hundreds of hours under the rubble, according to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. TV footage showed him on a stretcher being taken to an ambulance.
Neslihan Kilic, a mother of two, was freed from the rubble of a building in Kahramanmaras after being trapped for 258 hours.
The impact of the September 11 earthquakes in Turkey on the UNICEF and children’s fund: U.N. humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria
Meanwhile, The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, said it was working closely with Turkey to determine the steps needed to rehabilitate infrastructure in the agricultural sector damaged by the quake, including irrigation systems, roads, markets and storage capacity.
The Rome-based agency said in its statement that the earthquakes might disrupt crop and livestock production capacity, threatening immediate and longer-term food security.
The decision allows holders of Turkish temporary protection cards residing in earthquake-damaged areas to cross into Syria without having to obtain a travel permit from Turkish authorities. Normally, Turkey would consider Syrians holding protected status who crossed into Syria without a permit to have relinquished their status as asylum-seekers. They would have to give up their cards and not reenter Turkey for a number of years.
The Spanish government will take in 100 Syrian refugees that have been affected by the earthquake in Turkey. The Minister said the refugees were the most vulnerable and affected by the earthquake.
The Turkish state cared for 1,589 children who were separated from their families in the earthquake, including almost 200 who are yet to be identified, according to the Vice President.
Donor fatigue for the conflict in Syria had set in well before this month’s earthquakes. By the end of the year, the U.N. Children’s Fund’s annual appeal for Syria only had $27 million left to go.
Donor support is critical for UNICEF to continue its work of reuniting unaccompanied children with relatives, Mardini says, and distributing sanitation services and safe drinking water to people to avert the spread of diseases in quake-stricken areas.
“We know the needs are immense across the board, but it’s essential for their support to reach us as quickly as possible so that we can bring the aid where it’s needed most,” she says.
The road to recovery for Syrians after the earthquake will be long, but aid groups are trying to get the current support into bigger pledges of aid.
The World Health Organization estimates that 200,000 people are now homeless in government-controlled Aleppo, where the distribution of international aid is controlled by the regime of Bashar Assad.
The U.N.’s humanitarian relief official visited areas impacted by the earthquakes and said the situation was “unspeakable”.
A Syrian resident of Turkey with millions of followers on social media shared a video about trauma among Syrians.
Abu Lebda also described seeing a Syrian man abruptly getting off a bus after insisting he’d heard his two children calling for him from under the rubble of his home.
Why the U.N. refugee agency is closing in the next three years and why it needs to close next year, according to an analysis of UNICEF
Meanwhile, the U.N. refugee agency says it closed last year with only 56% of its funding needs met, leaving a $4.7 billion budget shortfall. The agency, which assists millions of Syrian refugees, has received only 15% of the funds it will need for the next three years.