Swiss Humanitarian Aid, which is attached to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), is continuing to provide assistance to the people affected by the earthquake of 6 February. The authorities' interim figures report over 42,000 deaths in Turkey and nearly 6,000 in Syria. Four additional medical experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit flew to Hatay in Turkey on Monday 20 February. They will work in a hospital in the province, mainly treating children and their mothers. The healthcare experts will support the response team that has been on the ground for ten days. The team took over at the end of the search and rescue phase from the 87 experts and eight dogs provided by Swiss Rescue.
Additional equipment is also on the way. A hundred winter family tents and 10 multipurpose tents await dispatch, in the wake of the 300 tents already sent to Turkey last week. Some 2,000 hygiene kits (toothpaste, washing powder, soap, etc.) are also being distributed to people in the town of Kahramanmaras and its surroundings. In addition, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) facilitated the delivery of several tons of winter equipment donated by a Swiss retailer (tents, sleeping bags, lamps, heaters and winter clothes).
300 tents for Syria
The situation is similar in Syria, where a humanitarian needs assessment team from the SDC was deployed last week. In response to the team's assessment, four experts will leave for Aleppo at the end of the week. The team consists of two engineers and two disaster response experts. Their main task will be to determine with the UN and local authorities whether the buildings still standing are habitable so that people can return home.
A delivery of 300 winter tents to the northwest of the earthquake zone is also in the pipeline, and staff are working hard to ensure they are delivered as rapidly as possible.
Switzerland acts on UN's appeal for aid
Switzerland has already made around CHF 8 million available to help those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
This amount includes the SDC's contribution of CHF 3 million to Syria in response to the UN's appeal. The UN has appealed for USD 1 billion in aid for Turkey and USD 400 million for Syria.
Address for enquiries:
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55