26 Feb. () –
The first two European Union aid planes for the victims of the February 6 earthquakes in southern Turkey and northwestern Syria arrived in Damascus this Sunday to provide aid to the population on the border between the two countries.
The quakes have killed more than 44,000 people in Turkey, but estimates in northwestern Syria are much more difficult to determine, as the country’s health system is devastated after years of war; a conflict that has also made it extremely difficult for international aid to arrive.
These are the first such flights to land in Damascus and form the forefront of a series of assistance operations from the EU’s own humanitarian reserves in Brindisi, Italy and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to the Syrian people in areas controlled by the Government and by the rebels, through the mobilization of the European Humanitarian Response Capacity.
“Overall, the EU humanitarian ‘airlift’ to Syria will deliver 420 tonnes of assistance, including 225 tonnes from the EU’s own humanitarian stocks worth €1.1 million,” the Commission said. Europe in a statement.
To this we must add that 15 European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia) have offered assistance “in kind” to Syria in response to the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The donations include tents, beds, blankets, heaters, hygiene kits, generators, food and medical supplies to assist the victims of the earthquakes in northwestern Syria, which have killed around 5,900 people, according to provisional figures.
In addition, an EU civil protection team coordinates the delivery of assistance to Syria from Beirut, Lebanon, and humanitarian experts from the European bloc are also present in Syria, working with partners to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable.
So far, the EU has responded to the earthquake with €10 million in humanitarian aid, including €3.9 million in new funds and more than €6 million reallocated through ongoing humanitarian projects.