US announces $100 million in earthquake relief funding for Turkey and Syria | CNN Politics

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday introduced $100 million in catastrophe aid assist for Turkey and Syria because the international locations grapple with the aftermath of a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has killed no less than 46,000 folks.

The highest US diplomat, who took a helicopter tour Sunday of among the hardest-hit areas alongside Turkish international minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, later advised reporters at Incirlik Air Base that it was “actually exhausting to place into phrases” the devastation he noticed through the tour however stated, “We’re right here to face with the folks of Turkey and Syria.”

The brand new spherical of funding contains $50 million underneath the Emergency Refugee and Migration Help Funds for emergency response efforts and a further $50 million in humanitarian help by way of the State Division and USAID, in accordance with the State Division.

The newest funding brings the entire American help to $185 million. Personal US nongovernmental organizations have already contributed one other $66 million to response efforts up to now, in accordance with a truth sheet supplied by the State Division.

“Instantly after the earthquake hit, america and different international locations jumped in,” Blinken stated.

Efforts to retrieve survivors have been hampered by a chilly winter spell throughout quake-stricken areas, whereas authorities grapple with the logistical challenges of transporting assist into northwestern Syria amid an acute humanitarian disaster compounded by years of political strife.

Blinken acknowledged that aid efforts in Syria have been “very, very difficult” however vowed, “We’ll do all the things we will, together with ensuring, for instance, there’s completely little doubt that no matter sanctions towards Syria don’t have an effect on the availability of humanitarian help.”

“They by no means have, however we’re going to guarantee that we clear up any doubts about that in order that anybody who’s in a position to can make sure that they’re serving to out in getting the help to the parents who want it in Syria,” he stated.

Blinken helps US military personnel load aid onto a vehicle at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey on February 19, 2023.

Blinken additionally met Sunday with representatives of the Syria Civil Protection volunteer group, often known as the White Helmets, in southern Turkey and dedicated US assist to the group and different organizations “offering life-saving assist in response to this tragedy,” he stated in a tweet.

The White Helmets have been doing the heavy lifting within the search, rescue and restoration operations within the rebel-controlled areas in north and northwestern Syria.

The group tweeted Sunday that members briefed Blinken on the response to the earthquake and the present state of affairs in northwestern Syria, together with “the humanitarian state of affairs, methods to assist affected civilians, and mechanisms for attaining early restoration.”

Turkey’s catastrophe administration authority stated Sunday it had ended most search and rescue operations almost two weeks after the earthquake struck as specialists say the probabilities of survival for folks trapped within the rubble this far into the catastrophe are unlikely.

Some efforts stay within the provinces of Kahramanmaraş and Hatay. On Saturday, a pair and their 12-year-old baby have been rescued in Hatay, 296 hours after the earthquake, state information company Anadolu reported.

Blinken advised reporters at Incirlik Air Base that it was “going to take an enormous effort to rebuild, however we’re dedicated to supporting Turkey in that effort.”

“A very powerful factor proper now could be to get help to individuals who want it to get them by way of the winter and get them again on their ft,” he added.

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