Syria: Earthquake survivors face dwindling international aid

A year on, Syria’s earthquake survivors face dwindling international aid and increasing violence, according to AP.

On February 7th, UN officials blamed inadequate aid and recovery efforts in the country on chronic under funding.

The magnitude 7.8 quake struck on February 6th, 2023, killing over 59,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

In Syria alone, at least 6,000 deaths were recorded, mostly in the northwest of the country. Some 4.5 million people now rely on humanitarian air to survive, with 800,000 living in tents, awaiting rehousing.

A World Bank estimate put the damage caused by the disaster at over $5 bn, in Syria alone.

For Syrians, the destruction aggravated an already immense humanitarian crisis, laying waste to hospitals and key infrastructure, such as roads and water networks.

The country has been in turmoil since 2011’s Arab Spring ignited a civil war between the regime, Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), and a multitude of other domestic and foreign-sponsored militias.

The conflict in the country’s northeast is now at its most vicious in years, with combined Syrian regime and Russian bombardments having killed dozens and displaced over 100,000 civilians, since August 2023.

READ: Syrian regime used incendiary weapons in Idlib

The complexity of working within Syria’s patchwork of administrations has seen general aid efforts in the country decline in recent years, with donor fatigue, COVID-19, and the turning of international attention towards other global conflicts also greatly impacting fundraising.

The UN itself could only secure 37% of the $5.3 bn needed for its humanitarian response to the 2023 earthquake.

On December 4th, the UN’s World Food Programme announced an end to its main Syrian agenda in 2024, despite having estimated more than 12 million people to lack regular access to food in the country.

The International Rescue Committee’s Syria Director, Tanya Evans, told AP that the humanitarian needs of Syria have never been higher, stating: “Families are facing rampant inflation coupled with the loss of jobs, and having to make heart-breaking decisions about getting food on the table or going hungry.”

READ: Osama Al-Sharif: Time for Assad to embrace a solution to Syria crisis


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