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A Month After The Earthquakes In Turkey And Syria, Chaos Still Reigns In The Affected Areas

According to humanitarian organizations, the scale of current aid is completely inadequate to meet the needs on the ground. Those affected by the earthquakes in Syria are trying to find refuge in existing refugee camps, where they are threatened by cold and diseases from contaminated water and poor hygiene. Children are at the greatest risk.

A month after the devastating earthquakes, millions of people in Turkey and Syria are still in a state of emergency. According to the UN, a total of about 29 million people in both countries have been affected by the natural disaster.

On February 6, a series of earthquakes occurred in southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, the most powerful of which had a magnitude of 7.7. Since then, thousands of aftershocks have been recorded in the region. As of today, more than 50,000 deaths have been reported.

The scale of current aid to those affected is completely inadequate to meet the needs on the ground. According to some estimates, 11,000 people in northwestern Syria have been left homeless as a result of the earthquakes. Many of them are currently trying to find refuge in existing refugee camps.

Due to the civil war, the situation in northwest Syria was catastrophic even before the earthquakes. The region had 2.9 million displaced persons, including 1.8 million in refugee camps.

Northwest Syria is practically cut off from the rest of the country. Prior to the earthquakes, international humanitarian aid was only delivered to rebel-controlled areas through one border crossing, but at present the number of such crossings was temporarily increased to three. As of now, 580 trucks carrying humanitarian aid have entered northwest Syria after the earthquakes.

UNICEF warns that millions of children in both Syria and Turkey are at risk of illness and cold. Contaminated water and poor hygiene in overcrowded temporary shelters can lead to life-threatening acute diarrheal diseases. After 12 years of civil war, children in Syria face a devastating combination of hazards and require long-term assistance.

According to UNICEF, critical water infrastructure facilities in the Syrian provinces of Latakia, Idlib, Hama and Aleppo suffered serious damage. Numerous water pipelines, water towers, and reservoirs were damaged or destroyed. In areas where residents still have access to water, it is often contaminated because treatment facilities no longer function properly. Cholera was already widespread in northwest Syria before the earthquakes.

In early February, 70% of the population of Syria depended on humanitarian aid. The earthquake brought death and destruction to a generation of children traumatized by a 12-year-long war.

The Turkish government has announced that over 200,000 buildings were destroyed as a result of the earthquake in the country. According to the Chamber of Architects and Engineers of Turkey, approximately 50% of the destroyed buildings were constructed after 2001. For over 20 years, strict seismic safety requirements have been in place for construction in the country. One of the main causes of the massive destruction is considered to be non-compliance with these regulations and corruption in the construction industry.

In connection with this, the Turkish authorities have initiated investigations against 768 suspects. 237 people have been arrested. According to Turkish media reports, the main suspects are developers, as well as the mayor of the badly affected city of Nurdagi. Critics point out that the investigation hardly touches on high-ranking politicians, and the massive destruction did not even cost anyone their job.

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