Friday, March 31, 2023

Turkey Quake Europe’s worst natural disaster in ‘a century’: WHO

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that last week’s massive earthquake, the epicentre of which was in Turkey, constituted the “worst natural disaster” in 100 years in its Europe region. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake, followed by a major aftershock, on February 6 has now killed more than 35,000 people in Turkey and neighbouring Syria. “We are witnessing the worst natural disaster in the WHO European region for a century and we are still learning about its magnitude,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told a press conference.
The WHO’s European region comprises 53 countries, including Turkey. Syria is a member of the WHO’s neighbouring Eastern Mediterranean region. The confirmed death count following the earthquake stands at 35,331, as officials and medics said 31,643 people had died in Turkey and at least 3,688 in Syria. The toll has barely changed in Syria for several days and is expected to rise.
“The needs are huge, increasing by the hour. Some 26 million people across both countries need humanitarian assistance,” Kluge said.
Qatar donates
WC mobile homes to survivors
Qatar plans to send 10,000 cabins and caravans from last year’s World Cup to provide shelter for survivors of the Turkish earthquakes, officials said.
The gas-rich Gulf nation says it had always planned to donate the mobile homes. They were needed to help house some of the 1.4 million fans who descended on the small country during soccer’s biggest tournament. An initial batch of 350 structures was shipped out on Sunday, the Qatar Fund for Development said. The magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 quakes that struck nine hours apart on February 6 killed more than 35,000 people in southeastern Turkiye and war-torn northern Syria.
The toll is expected to climb even further as search and rescue teams find more bodies.
Tens of thousands of buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving millions homeless. As shelters filled up in the days after the quake many were forced to sleep outside in wet, wintry weather.
Qatar and other wealthy Gulf countries have joined the global effort to send rescuers and aid to the stricken region.
The United Arab Emirates has pledged USD 100 million for relief efforts. Saudi Arabia has dispatched eight planes loaded with supplies to Turkiye and Syria.


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