A conference held on Monday at the European Parliament arrived at a staggering USD 100 billion in costs needed to restore infrastructure in Syria and Turkey devastated by last month’s earthquake which consumed tens of thousands of lives.
“The EU, including my country, Poland, was quick to deploy search and rescue teams in the disaster-hit region,” Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party recalled during the Monday conference in Brussels.
He went on to stress the high efficacy of the EU and its member states in saving hundreds of lives in the aftermath of the unprecedented calamity that rattled Turkey and Syria.
“Because more than 13 million people were affected by this disaster, tens of thousands of buildings collapsed or were damaged, the European Union is ready to bring humanitarian and financial aid to the region,” Czarnecki said.
The death toll in Turkey from the earthquakes has risen to 48,448, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Monday.
MEP Czarnecki went on to express his “honor” that the EU Parliament would “host this important and timely conference of donors that will take place on March 20. The conference is to bring together civil servants and experts from Europe and Turkey with a view to discussing the current situation in the quake-stricken regions as well as to determine the areas in which help is most urgently needed.”
I am delighted to host the Conference'Solidarity To Overcome Disaster' at the @Europarl_EN with the aim of supporting the people of🇹🇷and 🇸🇾who have been affected by devastat.earthquakes. @EU_Commission @trtworld @trpresidency @anadoluagency @AvbirDT @TCVarsovaBE @Turkpolassociat pic.twitter.com/ITo1zZWcRh
— Ryszard Czarnecki (@r_czarnecki) March 13, 2023
Representing the administration of the metropolitan municipality of Ankara, Onur Erim recalled that the quake affected an area whose surface exceeded that of Bulgaria. In order to help save lives, 1,000 rescuers from 80 countries arrived in Turkey and Syria.
The Turkish official went on to stress that many people had lost entire families and that losses were estimated at over USD 100 billion. He added that USD 6 billion has already been collected in a national drive, nevertheless just a drop in the ocean of what is needed. Erim highlighted how important it is that in such trying and testing times people came together to unite for a higher cause.
Bugün @Europarl_EN da Sn @fahrettinaltun un kapanış konuşmasını yaptığı "Afetin Yaralarını Sarmak İçin Dayanışma" konulu konferansta AB-Turkiye Dostluk Grubu baskani ve AB vekili Sn @r_czarnecki ,Sn @koertdebeuf ve Sn. Van den Eede ile birlikte konuşmalarımızı gerçekleştirdik pic.twitter.com/SwhudJmhz3
— Onur Erim (@ronurerim) March 13, 2023
Taking part in the conference, former advisor to the Belgian PM, Dr. Koert Debeuf of the University of Oxford outlined that the fact many victims of the earthquake were Syrians living in Turkey shouldn’t be overlooked.
He recalled how 4.5 million Syrian refugees lived in Turkey, mainly in the quake-hit region. Their situation was dire, he said, adding that the conditions were moreover politically complicated since humanitarian aid is required to be delivered via state capitals. As a researcher, he felt this could prevent the delivery of relief to all the regions of Syria that are in desperate need.
“Support for the disaster zone in northern Syria should go through Turkey,” he added.
Solidarity to overcome disaster conference.
Overcoming the 'Disaster of the Century' Together panel @koertdebeuf: "support for disaster zone in northern Syria should go through the Türkiye."
— Mohsen Behzad Karimi (@mohsen121) March 13, 2023
Tents and containers
While as many as 48,448 people died in the recent quakes in Turkey alone, the combined death toll including those killed in Syria has soared to more than 54,000.
More than 115,000 in Turkey have been injured by the earthquake and subsequent mighty tremors. Millions have been left sheltering in tents or seeking to move to other cities.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a pledge to reconstruct homes within a year’s time yet it will take many months before these thousands can leave their tents or container housing and their daily queues for food become but a dreary memory.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu informed it is in the government’s plans to erect 115,585 containers for as many families in 239 sites across the affected region. He said 23 sites had been established so far with 21,000 containers being set up, and 85,000 people living in them.
The official went on to note how 433,536 tents had been set up since the earthquake in 354 sites, and added that businesses would be given new temporary workplaces in the next 10 days.