The International Rescue Committee (IRC) called on the international community to urgently increase critical funding to ensure that those affected by the major earthquake on Monday morning in northern regions of Syria receive help.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in southern Turkey and its powerful aftershocks caused great damage in war-torn Syria.
“The impact has been devastating in areas that already host a high number of displaced and vulnerable families. This tragic incident comes just after the country was hit by a snowstorm that has seen temperatures plummet,” said IRC and warned that thousands were at risk as search and rescue operations continue.
At least 650 people in northern Syria died during the earthquake and hundreds still remain trapped in rubble. Freezing temperatures have left thousands exposed to extreme cold, and now many are without shelter.
The IRC stressed:
“As the number of injured continues to rise there are very real concerns about the ability of an already decimated health system to cope inside Syria. Following years of conflict, hospitals in northern Syria are overstretched as they grapple with a recent cholera outbreak.”
An urgent increase in funding is a must to ensure that those affected by the earthquake get the support they need, the NGO emphasised, adding that the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (2022-2023) was already severely underfunded with less than 50% of the $4billion required.