Lessons and reminders for disaster response have come from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

The Hilton Prize — A-5 Million Prize Gives This Humanitarian Group More Power to Stop Humansuffee: Jan Egeland’s Memories of Aiding Disasters in Afghanistan

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.

Over 10 million people were helped by us last year, but we need to help even more this year. The enemies are bigger and worse, so we need to be quicker and smarter, responding to crises earlier, providing support for the longer term and helping people to become self-reliant as soon as possible. The money will help us with staff development because we can only do that with our local colleagues. 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 is critical to us because we are challenged more than ever before. Our advocacy has made us targets for authoritarian regimes and parties to armed conflicts who don’t like the truth being told to the world. With the recognition and backing of the Hilton Prize we can do that with more authority and greater resources. It’s a considerable sum of money, but of equal importance is the recognition and prestige. I regard this as the Nobel Prize for humanitarian work.

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/10/20/1129199362/a-2-5-million-prize-gives-this-humanitarian-group-more-power-to-halt-human-suffe

What has happened to the most neglected conflicts and displacement crisis in the world? The view of Norwegian Foreign Minister Zahra Egeland during his visit to Somalia

Egeland was secretary general of the council before he was a Norwegian foreign minister. 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.

Organizations on the ground need help raising awareness, funds and basic items like food, clothing and medicine. Zahra believes that the issue does not stop with short-term relief efforts and that activists must push for access to hard-to-reach communities.

The annual report measures the number of people in greatest need versus international media coverage, money directed towards the crises and diplomatic efforts to halt hostilities. Last year the top 10 of the most neglected conflicts and displacement crises in the world were in Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a colossal emergency where more than 25 million people are in need, yet it receives scant attention. The same is true for Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Chad and Somalia.

The media attention is going to Ukrainian refugees. The Russian invasion was launched in February. What has changed for Ukrainian refugees?

The NRC has been in Ukraine since the 2014 Donbas conflict, but now the situation is much worse, with trench warfare and the destruction of entire cities engulfing millions of civilians. 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 fear for the winter. We’re putting a winterization program together because millions will be freezing soon.

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. People from the Middle East or Afghanistan are not welcomed in Europe even if they are from a different country. It’s the same in the U.S., where women and children fleeing horrific violence in central America are not always well received. We have to stand on the side of those who need protection in this fight of values.

We live and breathe by the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence. We teach our colleagues not to take sides in the conflict, because of the possibility of being 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 engagement between the de facto authorities and the donor countries on issues such as girls’ education and minority protection. Women and children don’t want to starve because of sanctions that do not take away food from Taliban soldiers.

I’m afraid of that. One hundred million people have been displaced by war for the first time in recorded history. In 2011, it was 40 million. There has never been in modern times as many children going to bed hungry as there are this year. Even though they are grappling with high energy prices and nationalism at home, it is still worse in the places where we operate.

It’s truly dramatic. I saw mothers and fathers walking for hundreds of kilometers to seek water and food. Development, investment, resilience and better use of existing resources are what we need. A group of nine international and national NGOs created the BricS to balance short-term humanitarian needs with long-term community readiness in the Horn of Africa. I witnessed dams being built, and bore holes equipped with solar-powered pumps so people can start to feed themselves independently.

Join and support 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 horrific contrasts. There have been so many people displaced by violence and conflict, and many who can’t afford food, that never have been done before. Climate change, COVID and conflict have merged to create a lethal cocktail. There are better technological advances, greater resources and more effective national and international humanitarian and development organizations. It has never been more possible for us to raise the lowest two billion people. Those at the very top have astronomical resources and they alone could have helped us reach people in great need.

I come back an optimistic person after visiting colleagues who are working in dangerous circumstances. 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.

Though the authorities occasionally reported a harrowing rescue — like Istanbul’s mayor celebrating the escape of a woman after 175 hours underneath rubble — fewer and fewer survivors were found on Monday. Aid workers focused on the people with no food, medicine or homes in Turkey and Syria. In both countries, bad weather and damaged roads have slowed the flow of aid.

Five days after the earthquake, Turkey’s government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been widely criticized for a scrambled and ineffective response. While an estimated 200,000 people remain trapped under rubble, many of those who have survived are struggling to meet their basic needs.

In a visit to Kahramanmaras, a city near the epicenter of the quake, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to survivors, saying “we are face to face with a great disaster.” Erodgan admitted there were shortfalls by his government in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but said nobody would be “left in the streets.” Erdogan will also travel to the worst-hit province of Hatay on Wednesday.

Hamideh had a son who resided in the building that used to be outside and she was waiting to hear if he survived.

The seismic aftermath of a 26-kilometre earthquake in the Kahramanmaraş province: Turkey’s earthquake and its aftershocks

For government-controlled parts of northern Syria, aid groups are mostly sending assistance to the capital, Damascus. From there, the government is handling relief efforts into hard-hit cities like Aleppo and Latakia. Relief efforts in Turkey have been complicated by poor roads.

Iran, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates have sent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid to Syria, and dozens of countries have sent aid to Turkey, including more than 5,000 rescue workers who are arriving in the disaster area.

Crowded into white tents set up by Turkey’s disaster and emergency relief arm, known by the acronym AFAD, families of eight or more are sleeping on foam mattresses on the ground. Wrapped in the clothes they were wearing at the time of the quake, and in donated, colorful blankets, mothers, daughters, brothers and fathers huddle to keep warm.

The earthquake and its aftershocks have flattened buildings and sent rescuers digging through concrete debris to find survivors, with the death toll expected to increase further. Nature spoke to four researchers about the seismology in the region, and how it will change over the next few days.

Most of Turkey sits on the Anatolian plate between two major faults: the North Anatolian Fault and the East Anatolian Fault. The tectonic plate that carries Arabia, including Syria, is moving northwards and colliding with the southern rim of Eurasia, which is squeezing Turkey out towards the west, says David Rothery, a geoscientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. “Turkey is moving west about 2 centimetres per year along the East Anatolian Fault,” he adds. “Half the length of this fault is lit up now with earthquakes.”

The epicentre of the main earthquake was 26 kilometres east of the city of Nurdaği in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 17.9 kilometres. The magnitude-7.5 event occurred around 4 kilometres southeast of Ekinözü in the Kahramanmaraş province (see ‘Earthquakes and aftershocks’).

Deaths in earthquakes are often caused by falling bricks and masonry. Many people in Turkey who were affected by the earthquake live in structures that are extremely likely to be damaged by shaking and are made of brick masonry and low-rise concrete frames.

Hayek says that there is a shortage of engineers in northwest Syria and many buildings will need to be rebuilt. Before the earthquake, “we talked about a need to train engineers on reconstruction according to appropriate safety standards”, Hayek says. “Now this has become a necessity, that’s right” he adds.

“The weather forecast for the region for tonight is dropping below freezing. It is likely that people who are trapped in the rubble could die from the cold. He adds that these dangers will continue.

The body of a 4-year-old girl wrapped in a pink blanket was brought out Wednesday from the wreckage of a building in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras. She is among the young victims of Monday’s massive earthquake.

Elsewhere, excavators dug out the body of man believed to be a Syrian refugee in his 40s, who seemed to be on a mattress, like many of those who died after the quake struck around 4 a.m.

In a neighboring building, also collapsed, rescuers were digging down from the top to try to reach one or possibly two people thought to be alive. The man directing the pneumatic hand-operated drill used a generator to power it while he cleared the rubble with his bare hands.

He appeared to have spotted signs of life beneath the wreckage, but rescuers sent away a waiting ambulance, saying there was still a lot of work to do.

A man volunteering at one of the hospitals in Kahramanmaras told CNN Wednesday there were 350 bodies in the morgue that had not been collected by relatives because their family members had died.

Somezley’s words of support for the Kahramanmaras relief zone after the 2008 Irregular Nature of the Earth

He went to an emergency relief area set up by the agency. The sports stadium was soon to be used to house thousands of families who have lost their homes.

In a televised briefing from the relief center, Erdogan said the government’s target was to rebuild the Kahramanmaras region “in one year” and that people would get help with emergency housing.

When asked if Erdogan’s government has done enough to help the victims, Somezley says, “They’ve done what they’re able to do.” This is not a time to talk about politics — it’s a time to help people who need it.”

He acknowledged the government’s initial response “had some problems” in terms of natural gas supply and roads, but said the situation was “under control.” The government is planning to give 10,000 Turkish liras (around $531 USD) to help families impacted, he added.

Very few buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras have been left unscathed by the quakes, although those in mostly newer neighborhoods higher up the valley have suffered less obvious damage.

At the bottom of the city, many people could be heard crying and lamenting by the tumbled buildings where they or their relatives lived until disaster struck.

A few people with photographs of their loved ones under the rubble held out pictures of their children or wedding pictures and said they are gone, as an act of remembrance.

Aid agencies warned of a “catastrophic” effect on northwest Syria when 10 Turkish provinces declared a three-month state of emergency.

The Hub of the International Rescue Organisation for the Prevention of Crustal Injures after the 2006 2011 Earthquake: How do we help people in need around the world?

The largest hub of the organization is in the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi with 20 warehouses. 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.

He too spoke with NPR at the World Government Summit in Dubai. He’d just returned to the United Arab Emirates from Syria, where the WHO is delivering tons of medical supplies such as amputation equipment, intravenous fluids and medicine.

Color-coded labels help identify which kits are for malaria, cholera, Ebola and polio for countries in need around the world. Emergency health kits for Istanbul and Damascus have green labels on them.

“The ones that we used in response to the earthquake are primarily trauma and emergency surgery kits,” says Robert Blanchard, the team lead in Dubai for the WHO’s emergency operations.

A former firefighter from California, Blanchard previously worked for the Foreign Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Logistical challenges of reaching the victims of the earthquake are being mitigated by the fact that the organization’s warehouses inDubai deliver aid quickly to countries in need.

There is little heavy machinery to lift rubble in northwestern Syria, where people are digging with their own hands. Power outages have resulted in fuel shortages in hospitals.

The weather is not looking good at this time. 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 World’s Largest Humanitarian Hub: Implications for the Middle East and for the UN, WHO, Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Cross

“They can not go home because their homes haven’t been inspected to make sure they are fit for habitation,” according to Blanchard. “They’re literally sleeping and living in the office and trying to do work at the same time.”

International Humanitarian City, the world’s largest humanitarian hub, contains the WHO’s warehouses. The UN refugee agency, World Food Program, Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations are some of the organizations located in the zone.

The government of Dubai covers the cost of storage facilities, utilities and flights carrying relief items into affected areas. The inventory is bought by the agencies.

Between 120 and 150 countries are where $150 million worth of emergency stock and assistance is sent each year. Personal protective equipment, tents, food and other critical items are needed in medical emergencies, global epidemics, and climate disasters.

The reason that this hub became the largest in the world is because of it’s strategic position. “From Dubai, in a few hours’ flight, you can serve two-thirds of the world’s population living in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa.”

As of Wednesday evening, WHO supplies for Damascus were stuck in the Middle East because of a problem with the plane’s engine. 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.”

The complexity of the Middle East is something that has become overshadowed by the crisis in Syria, Alsamman said.

Some areas of Syria were hit by the earthquake, others are controlled by the regime, others by Turkish-backed and US- backed opposition forces. Idlib, one of Syria’s last opposition strongholds, is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) organization, an armed Sunni Islamist group.

“It’s a crisis within a crisis,” says Leena Zahra, a Syrian American and humanitarian worker focused on increasing mental health access to globally displaced people. “This tragedy will impact children, entire families, some that have been displaced over 20 times. They have already faced psychological impact so it will add to that.

Turkey has grown in international stature in the last few years. Syria, on the other hand, is ruled by a myriad of disparate groups. Its regime, internationally sidelined and heavily sanctioned due to its brutal suppression of an uprising there that started in 2011, counts Iran and Russia as its closest allies – both global pariahs.

The Syrian regime is shunned by most Western countries. As regional states welcome him back into the fold, leader Bashar al- Assad has begun forging ties with his former enemies. Assad was welcomed in Abu Dhabi by the United Arab Emirate, and the president of Turkey said there could soon be peace talks between the two.

Assad’s intervention is a cynical move that came too late. The UN’s insistence on waiting for the Syrian regime’s permission — the very regime that has bombed, gassed, starved, forcibly displaced and imprisoned millions of Syrians — is unforgivable. The Syrian regime doesn’t work well in addressing the suffering of Syrians in a neutral and impartial manner.

That leaves rebel-held areas reliant on aid groups including the UN, where millions were already suffering from the effects of extreme poverty and a cholera outbreak when the quake hit.

The UN estimates that over four million Syrians rely on humanitarian aid, and the political and military standoff betweenAssad and the opposition is expected to hamper international assistance.

“We are exploring all avenues to reach people in need and conducting assessments on feasibility,” Madevi Sun-Suon, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), told CNN on Tuesday. “We do have aid but this road issue is a big challenge as of now.”

Why is the Syrian Embassy in Istanbul? The Prime Minister of Turkey is ready to rejoin NATO as soon as Turkey does – and why does it matter: Iran’s military base has been destroyed by a drone attack

The Syrian government says it needs more, and has called for sanctions to be lifted. A number of countries, including the US, have imposed embargoes on trade with Syria.

In November, a UN-appointed human rights expert called for the immediate lifting of unilateral sanctions against Syria, saying they are exacerbating the destruction and trauma suffered by ordinary citizens there.

The US State Department said reaching out to a government that has brutalized its people over the course of a dozen years is counter-productive.

If sanctions were dropped, the ramifications of the much broader situation would be changed, and that is why the regime is making that argument.

Why it matters: The announcement comes less than 10 days after a drone attack on a military plant in Iran’s central city of Isfahan that US media outlets attributed to Israel . The underground base was one of the most important air force bases in Iran, housing fighters equipped with long-range cruise missiles.

The Prime Minister of Sweden said on Tuesday he was prepared to restart negotiations over Sweden’s application to join NATO as soon as Turkey was.

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. Even though two Nordic neighbors wish to join at the same time, Turkey is against Sweden and doesn’t support it.

Why it matters: The three nations last year reached an agreement on a way forward, but Ankara suspended talks last month as tensions rose following protests in Stockholm, where a far-right politician burned a copy of the Quran. Turkey goes to elections in May.

Why it matters: The move comes amid 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 happened after the summit in Abu Dhabi where the emirs and king from the two countries were present.

A three-year political and economic boycott ofQatar was ended in January of 2021. Since then there have been no talks between Manama andDoha to resolve their differences. Travel and trade links were restored in 2021.

The suspension of a Twitter account that posted Quranic snippets on Twitter on Thursday ended with 300 bodies at the Bab Al-Hawa crossing

A account that posted snippets from the Quran had more than 13 million followers before it was taken down.

One user addressed Musk, saying: “I don’t think it violated the Twitter rules because its tweets are quoted from the Holy Quran. We want the account to be lifted.

Not all users were upset with the suspension. Some decried the account’s use of incomplete Quranic verses that they said are taken out of context and thus change the meaning of the text.

The accounts that the account owner runs are English, French, and German. Another sister account that shows Quranic videos has been campaigning for the original account to be unblocked.

The situation for the people affected by the disaster in Syria is getting worse as fresh snowfall makes the situation even more of a problem.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said Thursday’s convoy, made up of six trucks carrying shelter items and Non Food Items (NFI), crossed through the Bab Al Hawa crossing – the only humanitarian aid corridor between Turkey and Syria.

The delivery on Thursday ends a three-day period during which no aid arrived at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey to rebel-held areas of northern Syria – just 300 bodies, according to the administration that controls the only access point between the two countries.

The road to the crossing were blocked immediately after the earthquake, but had been restored as of Wednesday, raising questions about why it took so long for help to arrive.

Health Care in Idlib, Syria: The First Year of the Syrian Quake and the Impact of the Security Council Veto on Cross-Band Crossings

Abu Muhammad Sakhour is working as a nurse in the rebel-held city of Idlib to care for quake victims and check on the people who have been discharged from hospitals.

At the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, protesters hold signs asking why only bodies are being allowed through. The bodies of Syrian refugees who sought safety in Turkey are now being buried in their home country.

More than 8,500 injured people need to be accommodated in only 66 functional hospitals providing 1,245 beds for short hospital stays, according to the WHO. All of northwest Syria does not have any X-ray machines or computerized tomography (CT) machines, and only one magnetic resonance imager. Ikram Haboush, the director of the lone public maternity-hospital, says the medical situation in northwest Syria is catastrophic.

Local authorities say 11,000 families in the rebel-held part of Syria are now homeless after the quake. Up to 2,000 deaths have been reported and thousands more injured, according to the United Nations.

Russia has used its veto in the Security Council many times to close border crossings and make it harder to deliver cross-border aid via Turkey. Opening additional crossings on a temporary basis is not enough — more cross-border routes were already sorely needed.

However, since 2021, Russia and China have used their veto power to reduce the number of crossings from four to just one – Bab al-Hawa. 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. What we do need is for the international community to focus on the border crossing staying open,” Barnes added. “Because now, we are past the first phase of finding people, and we are heading into the humanitarian phase. We need to provide people with shelter and food when they need it.

The number of people who were in need of humanitarian assistance before the earthquake stood at 15.3 million – but that number will now have to be revised, UN Resident Coordinator for Syria, El-Mostafa Benlamlih said.

homeless people in northern Syria have been sleeping in their cars, according to an aid worker who was speaking with CNN on Thursday.

Incompetence, violence and humanitarian aid in Syria: A case study of Samanda, Turkey, after the 2010 September 11 earthquake – when Oxfam intervened

The executive director of Deir Ezzor 24, which is a research organization that delivers news from Syria’s Deir al-Zour province, says that the disaster is being used to remove sanctions. We are able to bring aid to Syria. Time is critical. We are having fun with life and death.

This week’s earthquake was not just a near total incompetence on the part of the government, according to Ozel. “To make matters worse, if that were even possible,” he says, “the government is also making it almost impossible for other organizations, civil society, citizens themselves and mayors and municipalities to actually help.”

Meanwhile, “Syrians don’t know where their next meal comes from. It is not about veggies or meat when we say meal. it’s about simple bread,” said Moutaz Adham, Oxfam’s country director for Syria.

This was the case in Samandağ in Turkey where civilians were digging through rubble in an attempt to save family and friends following the earthquake. The small group of rescuers were stretched thin as they arrived after several hours.

Istanbul’s stock exchange closed until Feb. 15 after initial trading showed rapid declines, triggering a circuit breaker when declines reached 7%. Turkey’s economy was already reeling from inflation.

A young girl from Syria is going through a tough time: “What have we learned about the earthquake”? “I’m so glad to see the light of God,” said Ozel

Arabic for God is Great is chanted by the crowd. Volunteers and civil defense groups — themselves earthquake survivors — pull a boy out from the rubble alive in rebel-held northwestern Syria.

Many of the nearly 4.5 million people who live here fled from other parts of the country because of the barrel bombs and Russian support for the Syrian regime.

Humanitarian aid and international aid have not appeared within 72 hours, he said, describing the small help that is reaching the region as a haphazard grassroots effort.

“Rescue efforts are being carried out by poorly equipped civil defense groups and civilians are trying to help,” Kelliah said. “Everyone’s waiting for international rescue and aid just to be able to process what’s happened, this catastrophe.”

Our hope of finding survivors has ebbed. As we pull more corpses from the rubble, I feel bad for all the people who could have been saved and lost their lives because we didn’t get the help in time.

The situation in north-west Syria remains grim with only five percent of reported sites being covered by search and rescue.

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.

After a catastrophic earthquake in northwestern Turkey killed more than 18,000 people in 1999, authorities imposed an earthquake tax meant to corral billions of dollars’ worth of disaster prevention and relief.

Many restrictions on how individual cities and aid organizations can operate in Turkey have been put in place by the centralization of Turkey’s government. (Turkey’s embassies, meanwhile, along with an array of nongovernmental organizations and cultural associations, are collecting donations internationally.)

Turkey’s inflation has been out of control for a while, and the election by June will weaken the leader of the party. It is my expectation that the government will be one of the victims under the rubble of this earthquake.

An 18-year-old high school student, Emrihan Korkmaz, has been working on the aid effort for three days. Schools throughout Turkey have been closed so that people like Korkmaz can help with the aftermath of the earthquake.

“We’ve managed to load 18 semitrucks and send them to the earthquake zone. He says there is a need for more urgent food as he loads a box underneath the banner that had the image of Erdogan hanging from the ceiling. “However we can get it to them, it doesn’t matter. The people there need food.

A frustrated Syrian president criticizing the Western powers: The Assad regime’s first televised comments on quake-hit northern Syria

Freezing temperatures: The scale of the challenge is amplified by the fact that affected areas in both Turkey and Syria are facing colder than normal temperatures. The low this weekend in the Syrian city will be -2C, 27F to 28F, compared with 2.5C in the middle of February.

Syrian state media reported that President al Assad criticized Western countries in his first televised comments since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck parts of the country.

The hospital where the president and his wife met the injured earthquake victims is a base for support for the Syrian leader.

The delivery of urgent supplies to quake-hit areas of northern Syria has been complicated by a long-running civil war between opposition forces and Assad’s government, who is accused of killing his own people. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad says any aid it receives must go through the capital Damascus.

In Gaziantep, he explains, they have no food, no money, no credit cards, no form of identification and no way of making a plan. He says the day before he walked to the gas station next to the camp with a plastic cup to see if they would give him something to eat or drink. He had an empty cup.

He is still an active member of the military in Turkey and he wants to be known only by his first name because he may face punishment if he criticizes the government.

Deriding the death of a soldier trapped in the rubble: AFAD’s response to the loss of lives in Antakya and the satellite villages

Tens of thousands of buildings have been destroyed. Many residents of the hardest-hit areas, including Antakya and the satellite villages around Gaziantep, have fled to areas like Gaziantep’s city center that remain comparatively unscathed.

Ozgur says that his rescue team no longer expect to find people alive in the rubble. He works for a large holding company and is afraid of being retaliated against if he gives assistance without government approval, so he asks to be identified by his first name.

He pointed to the collapsed building in front of him and said there were many people under it. They are not going to come out alive.

AFAD has said it has deployed dozens of food trucks and hundreds of thousands of meals, but opposition politicians and members of the public have widely condemned the organization’s response.

Faris says his family can barely even access the bathrooms for the lines, because there are not enough facilities in the municipal stadium for the hundreds of people temporarily staying there.

He and his mother, three sisters, brother and brother-in-law all have deep purple circles under their eyes and are covered in wounds from falling rubble. Their hands are covered in deep gashes from where they dug each other out from their collapsed home, their feet cut from when they finally made it out and had to find their way through the rubble in the cold without shoes.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Antakya-Antigake Conflict: a community of displaced people in Turkey

They were told by police in Antakya that they had to evacuate, and that they could find shelter and food in Gaziantep. Faris regrets the decision to come.

There, several Kurdish migrant families have set up the tents they usually use during the planting season. Genco says the government abandoned him and other farmers when they moved to this field. In their impoverished neighborhood of Sekiz Subat, less than 2 miles away, they say no one has come to inspect or repair their homes, damaged by the earthquake.

Hayat Gezer, a 45-year-old woman with a traditional Kurdish tattoo on her chin and a black headscarf, says the group is grappling with the additional stress of legal problems. She says that many members of their community have been jailed for a variety of crimes.

Southeastern Turkey is a heavily Kurdish region, and the Turkish government has been involved in a four-decade-long conflict there with the armed separatist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Many Kurds are being persecution for their alleged links to the group.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/11/1155955553/turkey-earthquake-gaziantep-displaced-people

The fate of a young man trapped in the rubble in Jinderis, Syria: a case study of the tragedy that killed 13 children and four children

The desperation in this camp is clear. A violent fight ensues when a young man tried to take bread from his neighbor’s tent. The young man has to be held back.

Hunger and cold have made those in the camp very critical of the Turkish government. Faris is a soldier and he swore he would never vote for anyone else except the one he voted for.

JINDERIS, Syria — Mohammed Juma sleeps on the heap of rubble that crushed his family as he survived. 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.

By contrast, across the border in the northwest of Syria, residents of the town of Jinderis heard the screams of those trapped under the rubble but, without the right machinery and equipment, were powerless to save them.

Mohammed Juma said that his wife and their two children were all alive after the home collapsed on them. Juma and his neighbors were unsuccessful in trying to pull at the shattered concrete.

Now the Syrian civil defense teams are using the few excavators they do have to recover the dead. At least 850 bodies were pulled from the rubble in Jinderis on Friday. A young man remembers cuddling his son, who was 2 years old at the time, to sleep in his bed before he was killed by the falling debris. Tabakh’s wife passed away on the bed beside him. Few friends were able to come to the burial because they were busy with their own burials.

After years of war, they’ve been left with nothing. Tens of thousands of people live with almost no access to basic services in tents that have been set up in the olive groves, where the mud wears 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. The home of the Turki family was destroyed, and nine of them, including five children, died. A family of seven was killed across the road. 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.

The Narli family were saved in central Kahramanmaras after an earthquake struck on Monday. First, 12-year-old Nehir Naz Narli was saved, then both of her parents.

That followed the rescue earlier in the day of a family of five from a mound of debris in the hard-hit town of Nurdagi, in Gaziantep province, TV network HaberTurk reported. Rescuers cheered and applauded as they chanted “God is Great!” as the last family member, the father, was lifted to safety.

“God is good!” a three-year-old girl and her dad from the rubble of a collapsed building in Antakya

“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.

A woman in her 20s was extricate from the rubble of a building at the same site as another person in less than one hour. Ahead of her rescue, police announced that people shouldn’t cheer or clap in order to not interfere with other rescue efforts nearby. She was covered in a blanket on the stretcher. Rescuers hugging each other. Some people said “God is great!”

The 3-year-old girl and her dad were pulled from debris in the town of Islahiye, in Gaziantep province, just an hour earlier, after a 7-year-old girl was saved in the province of Hatay.

The rescues brought shimmers of joy amid overwhelming devastation days after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake and a powerful aftershock hours later caused thousands of buildings to collapse, killing more than 25,000, injuring another 80,000 and leaving millions homeless.

Not everything ended very well. Rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl in the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay province 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.

He said that he had been rescued from the collapsed apartment building in Antakya within an hour of Monday’s earthquake. But after receiving basic first aid, he was released without getting proper treatment for his injuries.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/11/1156313344/turkey-syria-earthquake-death-toll-survivors

An Indonesian search-and-rescue mission leaves Turkey after six days on the ground and is leaving Palestine with a mental-health service for earthquake victims

″I buried (everyone that I lost), then I came here,” “My daughter is dead, my sibling is dead, my aunt and her daughter died, the wife of my son’s wife was 8 12 months pregnant, and I have many dead relatives,” Canbulat said.

On the outskirts of Antakya, there is a graveyard under construction. 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.

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.

The German Federal Agency for Technical Relief told CNN that rescue operations in Turkey still remain suspended because of security concerns.

Israeli search-and-rescue group United Hatzalah also announced Sunday that it was leaving Turkey after six days on the ground due to a “significant security threat.”

The United Hatzalah said in a statement that they received an “immediate threat” on the Israeli delegation and that they need to put the security of their personnel first.

Maisel said that they took necessary precautions to mitigate the threat for the sake of the mission, since it’s near the Syrian border.

The Austrian forces disaster relief unit said the handler of the rescue dog was assisting Turkish workers with security in the search areas.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said on Sunday that they were the first to provide mental-health support to earthquake victims in Syria. The team of Palestinians, along with local volunteers, is providing mental health services to about 300 children and their families in shelters and hospitals, who are suffering from severe trauma and depression as a result of the earthquake.

The 13-year-old boy who was trapped for three days under the rubble met with the man, described by Abu Lebda. He had an injury and was now living in a car with his siblings and father. His mother and sister died in the earthquakes.

It is impossible to sleep because of the voice messages he has received. He lies awake haunted by their cries. Thousands of people are still buried under rubble in Syria and he is concerned that each moment he rests, they are still alive.

“It’s destroying me,” Al-Dahhan, 31, told CNN. “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’t stop hearing them.”

The nonprofit, which Al Ghraowi says “seeks to empower Syrian refugee youth and families nationally and internationally through access to innovative education, community-driven aid and skill development,” has raised more than $49,000 for earthquake relief.

The men who survived have been in a race against time to help the survivors who are still trapped, using funds raised by workers like Al-Dahhan.

Since the earthquake, Al-Dahhan says he has not properly eaten and can’t sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time, the exhaustion evident in his voice.

I get a little bit of relief because the more money I can raise, the more help I can give to those in need,” he said. I need to keep going because I am in constant stress and I am not doing enough. When I sleep, I feel guilty. I need to be awake at all times. I need to be working. I would like to know more about the updates. I feel like I am functioning here, but my mind and soul are still there.

Do I Matter or Will I Be Forgotten Again? The Case of Nour Al-Ghraowi in Latakia, Syria

Another story is about a family that lost two sisters in the earthquake, leaving their children orphaned. Al-Dahhan says that their brother died of a heart attack, when he learned of his sisters deaths.

” My mind raced and I immediately thought it was an Israeli air strike, since we have had a few of them in Latakia over the past few years,” said Alsamman. I wish the earthquake had just been an airstrike after seeing reports of it in the night.

He watched the pictures of death and destruction pour into his phone with no idea if his friends or family were alive.

It felt like they weren’t supported by anyone and the only organizations that were able to provide aid were the ones already there.

As the clock ticked, the opportunity to rescue survivors decreased, igniting panicked efforts from Syrians in the US like Alsamman and Al-Dahhan to raise as much money as possible for organizations on the ground.

Nour Al Ghraowi, who immigrated to New York City from Damascus, Syria, following the civil war in Syria that started in 2011, is also helping through her work as a communications coordinator with Karam Foundation.

“Even though on a bigger scale it seems that the world has been quiet and no one has been talking about them, there are organizations and people who are still fighting for them, who never stopped for one moment fighting for them,” Al Ghraowi said.

Most of the casualties were in the northwest area of the country, predominantly in Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus, a region already struggling to rebuild vital infrastructure heavily damaged by aerial bombardment during the country’s civil war, which the UN estimates to have claimed 300,000 lives since 2011.

Giving immediate needs such as food, shelter, non-food items, and medicine, but also providing mental health care is critical to the survival of Syrians.

She says that being abandoned and forgotten is the biggest issue that is contributing to the mental health problems experienced by Syrians in the US.

She said it is only natural to have a question like do I matter or will I be forgotten again. Will I become another faceless picture that is not humanized?

The earthquakes have killed, destroyed, and displaced, so why do we need to help Syria? An Al-Dahhan told AFP

Some, including Al-Dahhan, have experienced psychological triggers, including photos and videos of buildings toppling during the earthquake, scenes nearly identical to the aftermath of airstrikes that have killed and displaced thousands during the war.

The war that happened years ago messed me up so I built walls to protect myself. I didn’t want to get hurt like that again,” Al-Dahhan said. With this earthquakes, I feel the walls are crumbling. I can’t think of anything else, I am remembering things that I do not want to remember.

Others like Zahra and Alsamman have a sinking feeling that no matter how much they help, it wont be enough.

“I can certainly say, without a doubt, as Syrians, we don’t have time to almost mourn or process our grief because we’re trying to use energy, time, resources, all hours of the day, to keep Syria in the news, keep Syria in conversation,” Zahra said.

We don’t have time to heal the wounds, we are shouting from the rooftops, please don’t get distracted, please help.”

Organizing Searches for Survival in Syria. The White Helmets (Or, What’s Happening in Syria) Have Done Their Best

Across the street, workers searched for bodies in the rubble, their hopes of finding survivors dimming so long after the building fell. A niece and nephew of Ms. Omac’s husband were under the debris. She was waiting for the rescuers to save her relatives’ lives.

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.

The rescue phase is close to being over, according to the United Nations aid chief.

The White Helmets are a group of almost 3000 volunteers in Syria who are working to save lives and strengthen communities. The views that are expressed in this commentary are of his own. Read more opinion on CNN.

We are the only organization here with the equipment and training to undertake heavy search and rescue. The volunteers have been doing the impossible, and I am humbled by their selflessness and dedication.

The Syrian Civil Defense (SCHO) Response to the Kahramanmaras Earthquake: Reuters and CNN Turk Seek to Reconstruct the Security Council

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. If the system that was set up to save lives during an emergency leaves children to die under the rubble, it is clear something is broken.

Local affected communities lending their cars and heavy vehicles, helping to dig, and donating fuel to keep themselves warm were the most significant contributions made by them to the response.

Rescue teams in southern Turkey say they are still hearing voices from under the rubble more than a week after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, offering a glimmer of hope of finding more survivors.

Live images broadcast on CNN affiliate CNN Turk showed rescuers working in two areas of the Kahramanmaras region, where they were trying to save three sisters believed to be buried under the debris.

In the same region, rescuers pulled an 18-year-old boy and a man alive from the rubble on Tuesday – a day after they saved a 10-year-old girl believed to have been buried for around 185 hours.

More than thirty thousand people have been confirmed dead eight days after the earthquake and its violent aftershocks.

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.

On Monday, the UN said it welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s decision to open two more border crossings between Turkey and Syria to allow aid into the north of the country.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay on Tuesday denied reports of food and aid shortages. He said there were problems with feeding the public, but everyone was being supplied with blankets.

More than 9,200 foreign personnel are taking part in Turkey’s search and rescue operations while 100 countries have offered help so far.

“The people who are going to have the most effect on the rescue is going to be your neighbors. Because they’re the ones right there, right when it happens,” Forrest Lanning told NPR. He is a liaison with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a structural engineer.

While search and rescue operations are very important, research shows that prevention is the best way 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.

The professor and chair of operations management and strategy at the University at Buffalo’s school of Management said that even if a bystander cannot rescue a person from the rubble, they still can find out where people are located.

“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. There are thousands and thousands of buildings in Turkey.

Emergency Response Team: How quickly do we reach out to people trapped in the aftermath of a major disaster? A lesson learned from the case of Turkey and Syria

Knowing the importance of quick, local aid, the Community Emergency Response Team was developed in the U.S. FEMA training volunteers across the country 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 said she wishes each time disaster strikes there would be an immediate mobilization of rescue crews and military. She said that it wasn’t always the case and it wasn’t in Turkey or Syria.

“The single, biggest failure point in emergency response is failure to pick up on the fact that this is an emergency,” Simpson said. It’s instinct is to wait.

“You can no longer be in Kansas because of all the emergencies, including the aftermath of an earthquake,” she said. “These conditions are not normal at all, and so one of the traps that we fall into is, ‘Oh god, what’s the best thing to do at this moment?’ It’s all going well. Let’s get moving.”

In Turkey, the military is able to open air bases to get aid in quickly because of their ability to operate in a disaster-transformed landscape.

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.

“There’s a very important lesson here: It’s never too early to activate your large-scale response when you’re not getting any information out of a region,” she said. “I believe that it will help people in the future, and it will make an impression on decision-makers elsewhere.”

Lanning said this latest disaster hammers home how important it is for global communities in earthquake-prone areas to strengthen infrastructure to withstand a disaster like the one in Turkey and Syria.

Lanning has worked for fifteen years in earthquake prone areas of the world, he said the type of construction and buildings usually cause most of the damage.

It’s not clear if concrete buildings are the best at withstanding earthquakes. He said that they are very easy to build and can hide flaws.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/16/1156636019/the-earthquake-in-turkey-and-syria-offers-lessons-and-reminders-for-disaster-res

The rescue of Mustafa Avci in the wake of the February 6 quake in Hatay: How Do We Get Here? A Video Interview with Koca

The analysis of the latest disaster and what went wrong or right will take many months. Lanning said it is incredibly valuable work.

How are my mother and everyone? the man on the stretcher asks, speaking calmly into a cell phone. Crying in disbelief, his friend replies: “Everyone is well… they are all waiting for you… I am coming to you.”

This was the emotional exchange that followed the rescue of Mustafa Avci, 33, who was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey’s southern Hatay province 261 hours after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the region on February 6.

On Friday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca released a video showing the phone call between Avci and his friend, in a powerful reminder that even now – 11 days after the quake struck – finding survivors against the odds remains possible.

The death toll from Turkey and Syria rose to more than 43,000 people after the rescue of Avci late on Thursday night.

In the video, Avci can be seen wearing a neck brace and is 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 thought his colleagues were hallucinating and he assumed the boy had died with his eyes open. But the child cried out, “Brother! I don’t feel my legs. Save me!

“Even now, we get tears in our eyes from time to time,” Aydinli said, referring to the boy’s rescue. He is awake and alert. Hopefully he will get better.

The earthquake in Hatay province left homeless in winter: Syria’s most vulnerable residents are displaced, and Spain’s vice president meets with the World Health Organization

Many survivors have been left homeless in winter with a lack of access to basic necessities because donations are pouring in from all over the world.

“A lot of lives have been saved, a lot of people have been pulled from rubble by their neighbors, by their friends, by their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. 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.

There was a person who was alive in the rubble of a collapsed building in the district of Defne after the earthquake in Hatay province.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency stated that Hakan Yasinolu, 45, spent almost 300 hours beneath the rubble. TV footage showed him in the ambulance, and he was on a stretcher.

Neslihan Kilic was trapped in the rubble of a building in Kahramanmaras for over 258 hours before being removed.

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 a statement that there is a threat to food security because of the earthquakes in Syria.

The decision allows holders of temporary protection cards from Turkey who live in areas affected by earthquakes to cross into Syria without having to obtain a travel permit. Turkey usually considers Syrians who cross into Syria without a permit to have given up their asylum-seeker status. They would be required to surrender their protection cards and banned from reentering Turkey for five years.

Spain says it will take in some 100 Syrian refugees in Turkey that have suffered in the earthquake. Migration Minister José Luis Escrivá said the refugees would be those considered most vulnerable and badly affected by the quake.

The vice president said the state cared for 1,589 children who were separated from their families after the earthquake.

UNAID in Aleppo, Syria, is in need of the public’s help after the 2011 earthquakes: A tear-filled video from a Syrian man who had witnessed a bus ride off his family

Donor fatigue was set in prior to the earthquakes. Not even half the $328 million goal set by the U.N. Children’s Fund’s annual appeal for Syria had been met by then.

To ensure that no one gets sick from the devastating earthquake, Mardini says that UNAID needs the public’s help in two ways: to give access to drinking water and sanitary services and to repatriating children with relatives.

“The most important thing right now is to get assistance to people who need it, to get them through the winter and to get them back on their feet,” Blinken said as troops nearby unloaded boxes of aid. We’ll keep on with it until we get the job done.

While attention is still on the earthquakes, aid groups are trying to raise more money for Syrians in order to help rebuild their shattered lives.

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.

During his visit to areas affected by the earthquakes, the U.N.’s humanitarian relief schemer described a number of “unspeakable heartbreaking” situations.

A Syrian resident of Turkey, with millions of followers on social media, shared his tear-filled video in Arabic detailing psychological trauma among Syrian survivors.

Abu Lebda said he had seen a Syrian man get off a bus after he said he’d heard his two children calling for him.

The U.S. Secretary of State for Disaster Relief in Turkey, and Turkey’s Hatay province, visited by Turkish Air Base (Place for an Earthquake) pledges $100 Million US Aid

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, says to date it has received just 15% of its global funding requirements for 2023 — a budget that’s yet to factor in the impact of the earthquakes.

The Secretary of State flew to Turkey Sunday to see the damage from the earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria.

“This is going to be a long-term effort,” Blinken said at Incirlik Air Base, a joint U.S.-Turkish facility that has coordinated the distribution of disaster aid. “The search and rescue, unfortunately, is coming to an end. There will be a massive rebuilding operation after the recovery is complete.

The secretary of state is on his first trip to a NATO ally. After attending the Security Conference in Germany, Blinken flew to Incirlik Air Base near Adana.

He went to Turkey’s Hatay province with the Turkish Foreign Minister. He was expected to meet with U.S. and Turkish service personnel, as well as Turkish military families affected by the earthquake.

“When you see the extent of the damage, the number of buildings, the number of apartments, the number of homes that have been destroyed, it’s going to take a massive effort to rebuild,” the top U.S. diplomat said after the helicopter tour.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/19/1158223049/blinken-turkey-earthquake-pledges-100-million-us-aid

Efforts to rescue people trapped in the rubble following a 10-kilometer earthquake in the province of Kaharamanmara and Hatay

Incirlik has been an important logistics center for aid distribution. Supplies from around the world are flown into the base and sent to those in need, including in difficult to reach villages.

The quake’s epicenter was in the province’s Defne district, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Monday, adding that there have been 26 aftershocks since.

“Our teams are working to take the injured to hospitals, inspect the affected villages and towns, and remove rubble to open the roads for the ambulances,” the White Helmets said.

The United States Geological Survey initially reported the magnitude at a depth of 10 kilometers, but revised it down to 6.3 magnitude.

Officials have been urging the public to stay away from buildings. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay asked the public to not come in to the damaged buildings, especially to take their belongings.

Zahir said that they went back to the house and went out because of the shock.

On Sunday, Turkey’s disaster management authority said it had ended most search and rescue operations nearly two weeks after the earthquake struck as experts say the chances of survival for people trapped in the rubble this far into the disaster are unlikely.

Efforts are still being made in the provinces of Kaharamanmara and Hatay. Anadolu reported on Saturday that there were a couple and a child who were trapped in Hatay after the earthquake.

The impact of earthquakes on medical staff in northwest Syria: an epidemiologist from King’s College London says the maternity hospital has been flooded since day three

With only 64 X-ray and 73 kidney dialysis machines, 7 CT scanners and one MRI, doctors in northwest Syria are racing against the clock to treat 8,500 injuries.

The UN and aid agencies are struggling to get supplies to earthquake-affected areas because only three border crossing points with Turkey are available.

Hospitals have been swamped by the influx of injured people in spaces with limited beds, supplies, and equipment.

“The supply of antibiotics ran out from day three” after the earthquake, says Abdulkarim Ekzayez, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, who now fears widespread infections. “We have used the medications and serums that would have lasted us for four to six months in two to three days,” adds Haboush. The WHO says Northwest Syria needs essential equipment such as X-ray machines, as well as medicine and medical supplies.

There are people all over the place making use of any existing resources. The medical staff has been working non-stop since the first earthquake, says Haboush, who worked at the maternity hospital. The hospital is located on the fifth and sixth floors. The incubators had to be emptied and the babies moved to the ground floor.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-00547-7

Assessing the structural state of damaged buildings in northwest Syria: The Syrian Engineers Association (SAED) welcomes a UN-supported approach for assessing earthquake damage

According to three doctors who Nature spoke to in northwest Syria, the most common injuries are limb fractures, trauma injuries, crush injuries including ‘crush syndrome’ (damages that result in organ dysfunction including kidney failure) and bleeding.

People with crush syndrome need intensive care and dialysis, says cardiologist Jawad Abu Hatab, who is dean of medicine at Free Aleppo University in northwest Syria. However, the region has only 73 renal dialysis machines, according to the WHO-compiled data.

The engineers are trying to estimate whether buildings are inhabitable (safe with minor cracks), temporarily unusable (needing reinforcement) or unsafe — in which case occupants must evacuate immediately.

Assessing the structural status of buildings is not trivial, and should not be underestimated because the earthquakes are still going on, says Muhammad Azmie Tawackol, civil engineer and association’s president. But in northwest Syria, people are having to use whatever methods are available, he adds.

Virtual assessments are being made in places that are not accessible to local engineers. Residents of damaged buildings are taking photos and videos of the interiors and sending them to members of the Syrian Engineers Association in Qatar, based in Doha.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-00547-7

The earthquake in Nepal: what can we do to protect the NHS and the future of healthcare in the 21st century? A researcher’s perspective

Buildings in danger of collapsing are being reinforced with whatever materials are available, irrespective of whether they are suitable. The engineer with the volunteers association said that carbon- fibre-reinforced polymers could work better for reinforcement of earthquakes. They have to use brittle industrial iron. “We are in an emergency situation, so we must respond quickly using the resources that we have,” Hayek says.

Ali Hallak, a computer engineer, says that the next step was to analyse the reports and produce statistical studies which will be important in the reconstruction phase.

There are research projects studying the situation. A research funded by the UK is investigating the impact of war on health care, and how sustainable models of governance and financing could be.

Researchers can urge the WHO to prioritize the region’s health needs. The agency is trusted and, through director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, it could do more to use that status to urge all the power brokers on the ground to allow it to work with other experts to deliver both immediate and longer-term help, including much-needed assistance to rebuild homes and health systems.

This tragedy has opened a rare window to provide more international support for people who have been neglected for much too long. Researchers can help keep that window open.

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