DAccording to a newspaper report, the federal government is increasing aid for the Syrian earthquake victims by 22.2 million euros. “Even if the Assad regime is putting one stone after the other in the way of the aid organizations: we will not leave the people there alone,” said Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) of the “Bild am Sonntag”.
It’s about mothers, children and grandparents who have been experiencing war for more than ten years, sometimes had to flee several times and are now mourning their relatives under the rubble, said Baerbock.
“They now lack even the bare necessities to survive: a roof over their heads, clean drinking water, something to eat and medicine. That is why we are once again increasing our aid for the region by over 22 million euros.”
According to the newspaper, Germany’s earthquake aid for Syria has increased to almost 50 million euros. The money will go to organizations already active in the region, such as Welthungerhilfe, Malteser, Caritas and Save the Children, the Foreign Minister told the “Bild am Sonntag”.
The strong earthquake occurred almost two weeks ago in the border area between Turkey and Syria. The number of confirmed fatalities recently rose to more than 41,000.
Aid does not reach rebel areas
Almost two weeks after the severe earthquake, not everyone in north-west Syria has received emergency aid. “We’re still at the beginning and haven’t seen the worst yet,” Muhannad Hadi, the UN emergency aid coordinator responsible for Syria, told the German Press Agency. So far, for example, around 60,000 people have been supplied with water and around 13,000 earthquake victims with tents. According to the UN, around 40,000 households are currently homeless.
If the necessary funding, which the UN estimates at 400 million dollars for Syria alone, does not come about, it will not be possible to help everyone in the future, Hadi warns.
Accordingly, no aid is still coming from the government areas to the earthquake regions controlled by rebels. The UN actually wants more aid to flow across the domestic borders of the conflicting parties to the north-west of the country, which was badly hit by the earthquake. “We weren’t able to implement that yet,” admits the emergency aid coordinator. The UN transports for the rebel areas have so far only come via Turkey. After years of civil war, Syria is fragmented into areas under different control. This makes humanitarian aid after the disaster significantly more difficult.
Hundreds of unaccompanied children
The UN meanwhile also fears violence against women and children who are currently sleeping outdoors or who do not have safe access to toilets in emergency shelters. Hadi warns that protection for these vulnerable groups in north-west Syria urgently needs to be expanded. Many children have lost their loved ones.
In Turkey, according to the government, more than 600 children in the earthquake area are still unaccompanied. The Office of the President announced that 953 children who were previously unaccompanied have now been reunited with their families. According to the information, information about the identities of 247 children is still missing.