Turkey-Syria earthquake, Unicef: more than 7 million children affected

A dramatic balance sheet. More than 7 million children have been affected by the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria on 6 February. According to Unicef ​​it is estimated that several thousand may have been killed. “In Turkey, the total number of children living in the ten provinces affected by the two earthquakes is 4.6 million. In Syria, there are 2.5 million children affected,” said James Elder, a spokesman for the organization, during a press conference in Geneva.

“Families exposed to the cold”

“Children and families are in desperate need of more support. Many people from our local partner organizations and frontline responders have been killed, injured, displaced and their offices and equipment destroyed,” Elder added. Unicef ​​fears that “several thousand children have been killed”. These figures, the spokesman said, have not been verified, but it is clear that “they will continue to increase”. Unicef ​​reports that tens of thousands of families living outdoors are exposed to the cold. “Every day there are reports of more children suffering from hypothermia and respiratory infections,” said James Elder, noting that families sleep with the children in the streets, shopping malls, schools, mosques, bus stations and below. the bridges.

Support for the children involved

In Turkey, Unicef, in coordination with the Ministry of Family and Social Services, has deployed social workers in hospitals to help identify unaccompanied and separated children. In addition, the organization has launched ten new telephone lines for unaccompanied and separated children. In addition to these efforts, Unicef ​​is working with partners to provide psychosocial support to the children affected. In Syria, he said, “every child under the age of 12 has experienced nothing but conflict, violence or displacement.” Some children have been displaced six or seven times. According to Unicef, more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees are registered in the ten affected Turkish provinces, including 811,000 children.