Turkish-Syrian border trembles as migration chief praise Antakya’s “bold and brave” residents

Date:

Turkish-Syrian border trembles as migration chief praise Antakya's

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Sunday, March 12, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • According to the UN, the earthquakes have left more than 500,000 people homeless in Syria.

  • More than 1.9 million people live in temporary shelters in Turkey, with 2.5 million children needing immediate humanitarian aid.

  • My place of employment was damaged by the earthquake, just like my home.

  • This relocation is more challenging for us than before when we had to leave Syria due to the conflict.

  • Less than 30% of the $161 million IOM appeal has been funded to support response actions in Turkey and northwest Syria.

“Today I met proud and brave people among the ruins of historic Antakya city whose past has been erased, whose present is full of misery, and whose future is unknown,” said António Vitorino after a two-day visit to Türkiye that included discussions with senior government officials.

“I am in awe of IOM colleagues and our numerous partners who, although being personally impacted, started helping within hours of the earthquake.

“Now comes the hard part.”

Mr Vitorino continued, “But now comes the hard part: standing in solidarity and taking concrete action with Turkey as it rebuilds and forges a new future for the millions whose lives have been torn apart.

The many “humanitarian heroes” who helped pull so many people out of the rubble, he added, “made sacrifices that will never be forgotten, and one of the reasons I am here is to pay tribute to them and express my condolences, especially to the families of the three IOM personnel who lost their lives.

“To quickly deliver help to afflicted populations in Turkey and northwest Syria, our personnel overcome complicated logistics and logistical challenges as well as personal losses.”

As Mr Vitorino visited a logistics hub near the border, crucial to the response as a transit point for thousands of tonnes of aid being sent into northwest Syria, he underlined that IOM was one of the first UN agencies to commence cross-border assistance three days after the disaster.

150 trucks and still growing

IOM has already sent over 150 relief vehicles across the border as part of the response.

According to the UN, the earthquakes have left more than 500,000 people homeless in Syria. More than 1.9 million people live in temporary shelters in Turkey, with 2.5 million children needing immediate humanitarian aid.

The UN emergency response plans for both nations call for approximately $1.4 billion to cover the first three months of vital supplies, and 850,00 children from both countries are displaced. Almost five million people in Turkey require support to save their lives.

The most significant ongoing humanitarian appeal, the 2023 response plan for Syria, will cost $4.8 billion.

At a government-run temporary housing facility for those forced homeless, including the local community, migrants, and some Syrians under temporary protection, Mr Vitorino met with Turkey’s President of Migration Management.

We’ve lost everything,

Syrian native Nawfal Melish, currently residing at the facility, revealed to the IOM director that her family had lived in Hatay and had all they needed.

But now we’ve completely lost it. My place of employment was damaged by the earthquake, just like my home. Nonetheless, we shall now begin a new life. This relocation is more challenging for us than before when we had to leave Syria due to the conflict.

Mr Vitorino visited Yunus Sezer, the director of the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management office’s Coordination Center, on Friday in the Turkish capital of Ankara. This government organisation is in charge of overseeing the response.

He stated, “I am ever more proud of IOM’s excellent relationship with this country since our local office was established over 30 years ago. I was particularly impressed with the Turkish Government’s emergency response in the face of an inconceivable disaster.

Encouragement to move forward

“We continue to contribute our operational capacity and knowledge to the Government to enable them to move forward on the road to recovery”.

Less than 30% of the $161 million IOM appeal has been funded to support response actions in Turkey and northwest Syria.

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