Humanity & Inclusion joins other international and local NGOs working in Syria in calling for an urgent scale-up in support and for immediate action to be taken to secure humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the Feb. 6 earthquake. The humanitarian response must match the scale of the disaster.
As Turkiye and Syria mark one week since the seismic earthquake—because no additional equipment and capacity were sent to northwest Syria—the local rescue teams could only search 5% of the affected areas. The potential survivors trapped under the rubble of the other 95% were not rescued in time. The international community failed the Syrian people by not reacting fast enough and not supporting the search and rescue teams.
Conscious that this tragedy has impacted the whole humanitarian response, we express our deep admiration and support to the humanitarian organizations, volunteers and all humanitarian workers on the ground who are shouldering the response while being affected themselves.
The UN estimates that more than 6,500 have been killed and 10,000 people injured in all areas of Syria. Millions lost their home and are experiencing new displacement after 12 years of war and trauma. These numbers are likely to rise in the coming weeks. Lack of support through resources and equipment to the rescue teams in the affected areas has led to the loss of many lives.
NGOs are extremely concerned that the current level of response reaching the affected areas of Syria is nowhere near what is needed in face of the devastation. Seven days into the crisis, NGOs reiterate that a significant scale-up of efforts is needed to ensure unimpeded access to all affected areas of Syria through all means possible to save lives and reduce suffering.
We want the international community to understand—the suffering of Syrians across the region, and their constantly worsening needs over the last 12 years of this protracted crisis have not gone away. The earthquake has brought new suffering, increased the number of people in need, exacerbated existing needs, and hampered the ongoing response. We see new unaccompanied children, and collective shelters and existing camps are now full of people with no food, no water, no blankets, no heating options. What is needed is more assistance, more access, and more funding. Redirecting existing resources and funding from other parts of Syria is NOT the solution. That will only pit communities against each other, create more competition over inadequate funding, increase gaps in overall response, and undo vital progress made. We need immediate flexible new funding to reach the humanitarian community as fast as possible.
NGOs call for the international community to stay above politics, put humanitarian principles at the center and move forward with an urgent and immediate scale-up of humanitarian support to relieve the suffering of the affected populations and support those helping them.