UN raises quarter of $1 bn Turkey quake funds target

The UN reported on Friday that it has so far collected 25% of the funds required for the relief efforts needed in Turkey following the earthquake that claimed more than 55,000 lives.

Donors have so far given $268 million to the $1 billion flash appeal the UN made after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6 and its aftershocks that wreaked havoc in areas of war-torn Syria and southeast Turkey.

The initial emergency period has come to an end, according to Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN humanitarian organization in Geneva.

“Now we are involved in the humanitarian emergency phase, where we look at what the survivors need,” he added.

In order to assist more than five million people in Turkey in the first three months following the earthquake, the UN issued a plea for $1 billion on February 16.

The top five contributors at the moment are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United States, the European Commission, and CERF, the UN’s emergency fund.

According to Laerke, more than 4.1 million people had received essential household goods and clothing from the UN and other humanitarian organizations.

Nearly three million of them have received emergency food assistance. And 1.6 million people have gotten assistance with water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Earlier this month, the EU held a conference in Brussels to collect funds for reconstruction, the third and longest phase.

Although Ankara has estimated that the cost of reconstruction will be well over ten times that amount, donors have committed seven billion euros to aid Turkey and Syria in their recovery.

As of today, $364 million of the $398 million needed for the UN’s twin flash appeal for Syria to aid survivors over the first three months has been collected.

So far, 1,177 UN aid trucks have crossed the Turkish border into northern Syria.

“Since last month, we and our partners have provided shelter support, including tents, to nearly 100,000 people.

“Partners have also distributed more than 850,000 ready-to-eat food rations and over one million hot meals to people across affected areas,” Laerke said.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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