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Earthquake: Commissioner Lenarčič visits Türkiye as EU makes available in-kind assistance for Syria

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In the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria earlier this week, the EU is running one of its largest search and rescue operations through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to help save as many lives as possible.

Commissioner Janez Lenarčič (pictured) in his role as crisis coordinator of the EU’s response arrived in Gaziantep and will be meeting with the Vice-President of Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management and with the cross-border humanitarian partners from Northwest Syria. Together with the EU Civil Protection Team and the EU’s Humanitarian Aid Office in Gaziantep, he will be visiting the disaster site and ongoing rescue operations.

EU support to Syria: After yesterday’s activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for Syria, the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre is closely coordinating with EU Member States and the Mechanism’s Participating States to channel emergency assistance to the Syrian people as rapidly as possible. Italy and Romania have already made first offers including, family tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, beds, food items, winter clothing, and more. On 9 February, the World Food Programme has requested assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to support the affected people in Syria. This will allow further EU aid to be channeled.

The EU and its member states are together the largest donors of humanitarian aid for Syria, having provided over €27 billion since 2011. In Syria, the EU has provided €3.5 million in emergency funding to help humanitarian partners address urgent needs which include cash for shelter and non-food items, water and sanitation, health, and search and rescue following the earthquake.

EU support to Türkiye: Latest support includes, the mobilisation of the rescEU strategic reserves to deliver 500 temporary accommodation units, 2,000 tents, and 10,500 beds to Türkiye from its emergency stockpiles hosted by Sweden and Romania. The tents can provide rapid relief, hosting 4 people each, while the prefabricated temporary housing units can host up to five people each and are designed to offer emergency shelter to people who lost their homes in the earthquake for a longer period. The financial value of the rescEU assistance is nearly €5m.

This comes on top of the 21 EU member states together with Albania, Montenegro and Serbia that have offered in total 38 rescue and medical teams via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. More than 1,650 rescuers and 104 search dogs have been deployed to the most affected areas in Türkiye. So far, 36 people have been rescued by the search and rescue teams deployed via the Mechanism.

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