Edited News | UNHCR , WHO , OSE
One year after a series of devastating earthquakes hit Türkiye and Syria, the plight of millions of displaced people - and that of their hosts - has deteriorated, UN humanitarians warned on Tuesday.
“Türkiye is one of the world’s largest refugee-hosting countries, while Syria, where millions had been displaced by the 13-year crisis even before the earthquakes hit, is suffering a severe economic crisis,” said Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) when briefing journalists at the UN in Geneva. She added that “in Syria, an estimated 90 per cent of the population live in poverty, 12.9 million are food insecure and 7.2 million are internally displaced.”
In the early hours of February 6, 2023, a catastrophic earthquake struck the border region between Türkiye and Syria claiming over 50,000 lives in Türkiye and more than 5,000 in northwest Syria, with thousands more injured. The destruction was extensive, with thousands of buildings, including key infrastructure like schools and hospitals, collapsing under the quake's force.
“Türkiye hosts 3.4 million refugees, and the earthquake impacted a region that is home to some 1.75 million of them,” Ms. Mantoo said. “Despite Türkiye’s impressive and inclusive humanitarian response, supported by NGOs, the UN and the international community, the impact of the earthquakes is still being felt by both refugees and their Turkish hosts,” she added. With the increasing needs, many refugees are resorting to survival strategies cutting food spending and borrowing more, said the UNHCR spokesperson.
“The catastrophe has already taken an excruciating toll on the mental and emotional well-being of a long-suffering population. Many have lost family members and friends,” stressed Ms. Mantoo. “Almost 60,000 deaths were reported in the two countries as a result of the earthquakes, with tens of thousands injured and entire neighbourhoods reduced to rubble.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the consequences of the catastrophe will last many years to come with a lot of people continuing to live in temporary shelters.
“In Türkiye, the earthquake created new and urgent health needs in the communities affected, including both refugee and host populations,” said Tarik Jasarevic, WHO’s spokesperson. “The disaster disrupted access to health services, including maternal and newborn health care, vaccination, non-communicable disease management, mental health support, disability and rehabilitation services.”
For over a decade, Syria has been grappling with a complex array of issues including prolonged conflict, economic instability, health crises like COVID-19 and cholera, in addition to last year’s seismic disaster. These compounding factors have plunged Syria into an unprecedented humanitarian and protection emergency, now in its 13th year. This complexity of challenges, coupled with the recent earthquake, has significantly exacerbated food insecurity in Northwest Syria.
Jenifer Fenton, spokesperson for the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE) said that “after the earthquakes, we saw the lowest level of hostilities in a decade, and fresh diplomatic attention to the Syrian tragedy. This, however, did not translate into real progress. Tragically, 2023 later saw the worst eruptions of violent conflict in years, further exacerbating the worsening humanitarian situation, and a lack of meaningful progress on the political process.”
STORY: Earthquakes Türkiye, Syria: One year after: UNHCR, WHO, OSE Syria
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 6 February 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
4. Medium shot: press room with journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): “Türkiye hosts 3.4 million refugees and the earthquake impacted a region that is home to some 1.75 million of them. Despite Türkiye’s impressive and inclusive humanitarian response, supported by NGOs, the UN and the international community, the impact of the earthquakes is still being felt by both refugees and their Turkish hosts.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Thursday called for an end to the “carnage” in Gaza as he presented his Office’s report on the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG
This is a time of seismic global shocks, with conflicts battering the lives of millions of civilians and carving ever deeper fault-lines across and between nations, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk warned on Monday at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Edited News | UNITED NATIONS , HRC , OHCHR
In conflicts across the world, nations and their governments are ignoring “the rule of law and the rules of war” enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter, an alarming development highlighted by United Nations chief António Guterres at the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
Edited News | UNICEF , IFRC
Summary: UN warns of severe mental health impact on children and families in Ukraine due to ongoing war. Thousands of hours spent underground, leading to PTSD symptoms. Civilian casualties, displacement, and destruction of institutions exacerbate the crisis. Urgent need for psychological and emotional support, mine risk education, and comprehensive recovery efforts.