Geneva, MINA – Ahead of today’s donors conference in Brussels, World Health Organization (WHO) called on the international community “to support lifesaving health response activities for the 4.9 million people most severely impacted out of the 8.8 million affected in all areas of Syria” on Monday.
The WHO Flash appeal estimates that the earthquake response for the whole of Syria requires $33.7 million, the organization said in a statement, Anadolu Agency reported.
“WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies has provided a loan of US $11.3 million, while the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and US Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) have together provided US $6.5 million,” it said. “A further US $6.7 million has been pledged by CERF, BHA and Novo Nordisk Foundation.”
WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Regional Director Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari stressed that “Syrians have endured crises and disasters over and over again. Their legendary resilience has been tested like never before by last month’s earthquake; they need urgent assistance to emerge and recover from this latest catastrophe.”
Even before the earthquake, the humanitarian crisis in Syria had been steadily worsening since 2011, with 15.3 million people estimated to need humanitarian assistance this year, it said.
Syria was in no way prepared to deal with a natural disaster of this magnitude as it was devastated by more than ten years of ongoing conflict, which has caused a significant socioeconomic decline, massive population displacements, the deterioration of a once-strong health system, COVID-19, and the spread of transmissible diseases like cholera and measles, it added.
It noted that more than half a million people were displaced by the earthquake, many of them living in overcrowded, unsanitary collective shelters and informal settlements with insufficient services and vulnerable to a heightened risk of disease.(T/R3/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)