Turkey earthquake, searches interrupted in almost all provinces

Operations continue only in the most affected areas of Kahramanmaras and Hatay. Toll rises to 40,689 dead. Over six thousand aftershocks since February 6

Search and rescue operations have ended in all Turkish provinces except those of Kahramanmaras and Hatay. This was announced by the disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD), specifying that the new balance of the earthquake of 6 February has risen to 40,689 dead.

According to reports from AFAD, the disaster and emergency management agency, more than six thousand aftershocks have followed since the earthquake of last February 6th. “Every three or four minutes” there are tremors and about forty of them have had a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale, says the agency.

SYRIA – A 14-truck Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) humanitarian convoy entered northwestern Syria from Turkey today via the Hammam border crossing. This first convoy carries 1,296 tents for families (of at least 5 people) left homeless by the earthquake and as many winter kits to insulate them from the cold. More MSF aid convoys, carrying medical and non-medical supplies, are expected in the coming days.

However, MSF warns in a statement, an urgent increase in the volume of supplies is needed to deal with the scale of the humanitarian crisis. In the ten days following the earthquake, the number of trucks crossing the border into northwestern Syria was lower than the 2022 average. Having been in the area for more than 10 years, MSF teams were able to respond immediately to the emergency. “We emptied our emergency stocks in three days, donating nearly 12 tonnes (4,000 cubic meters) of surgical equipment and medicines to hospitals. Our teams provided support to healthcare facilities in the area until stocks ran out,” said Hakim Khaldi , MSF head of mission in Syria – But we have not seen any help from outside. Aid is arriving in negligible quantities for the moment”.

MSF teams have identified huge unmet needs for aid. Access to housing and decent hygienic conditions are not guaranteed, above all if one considers that the 180,000 new displaced people caused by the February 6 earthquake join the two million people displaced by 12 years of war and who already live in precarious conditions . MSF is currently providing assistance and medical support to people living in five reception centers in northern Idlib, offering medical treatment and distributing tents, water, bread, blankets, mattresses and fire extinguishers. Activities to ensure continued access to healthcare for both earthquake victims and the general population will begin next week.