Earthquake in Turkey, 2.7 million people still displaced

ROME (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The commitment of international donors, who yesterday pledged 7 billion euros to support people affected by last month’s devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, is a positive first step but for Save the Children – the international organization which for over 100 years worked to save boys and girls at risk and guarantee them a future – there is still a long way to go to ensure the necessary recovery for children and their families.
In both countries, immediate and recovery needs pose incalculable risks to children if they are neglected. In Turkey, more than 15 million people have been directly affected and 2.7 million are still displaced, while rebuilding the hundreds of thousands of destroyed or damaged homes will take years. In Syria, where 12 years of conflict had already made 15 million people, mostly children, dependent on humanitarian aid, the earthquake has aggravated the emergency in the north of the country. Here, the precarious conditions of the displaced population have worsened further by the torrential rains and floods that hit more than 4,000 families two days ago, destroying or damaging hundreds of tents, their only shelter, leaving children in fear to sleep through the night.
“The situation in Syria was already incredibly horrible even before the earthquakes, with children who, after more than 12 years of war, lack sufficient water, food, health care, educational services and, more and more, without hope. The needs of Syrian children have been neglected for too long. It shouldn’t have taken an earthquake for the international community to focus again on the region, but now the time has come to change our approach. We must use these funds to restore schools and hospitals, and ensure that the children have safe homes. Yesterday’s pledging conference was an opportunity to engage with a long-term and sustainable approach to addressing the humanitarian needs of children in Syria and thus begin the long process of recovery that allows them to build a better life. It is clear that we need to do much more to ensure this outcome,” said Rasha Muhrez, Director of Humanitarian Response d Save the Children in Syria.
With yesterday’s commitment, the international community must ensure that children receive the support they need now and in the long term. It is essential that children are listened to better understand their specific needs and ensure adequate protection. Furthermore, it is essential that funds are channeled to Syrian and Turkish organisations, which have so far been at the forefront of the response.
“With €7 billion pledged for both humanitarian response and long-term reconstruction, the work is starting now. Over two hundred thousand buildings, including homes, schools and hospitals, have been destroyed or damaged across Turkey. Children have been torn from their family homes and their safety has been shattered. Funding pledges and the solidarity expressed today give hope to the millions of children and their families across Turkey who are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives again. It is vital that this international support reaches directly and as soon as possible to the frontline organizations so that it can reach the most vulnerable children and their families without delay”, said Sasha Ekanayake, Director of Save the Children Turkey.

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