The World Health Organization (WHO) warned this Sunday that it has prepared humanitarian aid convoys to be sent to rebel-held areas of Syria while awaiting the opening of new border crossings to expedite their shipment for the victims of the most violent earthquake in the region for 80 years.
This was stated in a statement by the organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, assuring that they are “prepared, ready to go” awaiting a permit from Damascus to be able to send the aid through the only open border crossing between Turkey and areas of Syria under rebel control.
“I’m waiting for cross the lines to the northwest, where we have been told the impact is even worse.”he said in statements to the press from the Syrian capital.
The latest balances speak of 33,179 deaths (3,574 in Syria and 29,605 in Turkey) due to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on February 6.
Likewise, the director general of the WHO has detailed that the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad “is open” to the opening of new cross-border access points for emergencies. These additional border crossings would be located between northwestern Syria and Turkey.
“Some of the previously stored aid has already been delivered, and the convoys began to pass through the border crossing again on Thursday, but there is increasing demand for more crossings to be opened to speed up the delivery of aid,” he specified.
Meanwhile, the director general of the WHO has welcomed the decision of the United States to relax the sanctions against Syria to allow banking entities to carry out immediate transfers to Syria, which facilitates the sending of humanitarian aid to the country from the Middle East.
However, he has assured that the WHO is committed to supporting the Syrian people “now and in the days, weeks, months and years to come”, in an effort to respond “to this disaster and build a stronger health system for all Syrians.”
On the other hand, the UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, regretted this Sunday the delays in the arrival of humanitarian aid to Syria and insisted that more support is needed for the millions of people who lost their homes in the earthquake. “Until now we have failed the people of northwestern Syria. They have the right to feel abandoned, waiting for international help that has not arrived,” Griffiths said. “My duty and my obligation is to correct this failure as quickly as we can,” she stated.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, He asked for his part to put politics aside. “We are mobilizing funds and trying to tell everyone to put politics aside,” he declared in Damascus. “It is time to unite behind a common effort to support the Syrian people,” she added.
On Saturday Griffiths had warned that the balance of victims could still increase considerably. “It’s really hard to estimate very accurately, because you have to get under the rubble, but I’m sure it’s going to double or more,” Griffiths said. “It’s terrifying,” he added.
The area affected by the earthquake covers more than 100,000 square kilometers between Syria and Turkey and is home to approximately 10 million people.
In Syria, immersed in a civil war for 12 years, the earthquake hit government areas but also others in the hands of the opposition. And assistance is hampered by the fact that several airports have had to be closed to traffic due to being seriously damaged.
With information from AFP, EFE and EuropaPress
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