WHO warns of medical disaster after earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

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An injured person is removed from the rubble after an earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, February 7, 2023. Photo: AFP/VNA

As of about 10 pm on February 9 (Vietnam time), the number of reports from the two countries’ authorities shows that the total number of victims in the recent earthquake has exceeded 19,000 people (16,170 people in Turkey). United States and over 3,000 people in Syria). This is much higher than the 1999 earthquake of the same magnitude of 7.8 in the northwest of the country, which killed 17,000 people.

The number of victims is forecast to increase as search and rescue operations are still racing against time to find people trapped in the rubble amid cold weather and search and rescue operations have entered the final stage. Tuesday. Officials said the quake caused about 6,500 buildings to collapse in Turkey and destroyed countless structures in the land that is home to about 13 million people.

Meanwhile, Robert Holden, the World Health Organization (WHO) earthquake disaster management official, warned that the urgent task now is search and rescue and ensuring disaster survivors are still alive. continue living.

He said too many people are living in worse and worse situations, from lack of food and water to fuel and communication. He warned that the threat of an epidemic after the earthquake could be another disaster, leaving many people in even more serious situations if the international community does not take immediate action. This is not an easy task, he admits.

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People build fires to keep warm in cold weather after losing their homes after an earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, February 8, 2023. Photo: AFP/VNA

In a related development, European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen said on February 9 that next March, the European Union plans to organize an international donor conference to support Turkey. United States and Syria overcome the consequences of the earthquake. She emphasized the need to accelerate and strengthen the two tasks of saving victims and providing humanitarian relief at the same time.

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