Syria sanctions hinder rescue of quake victims

Published February 7th, 2023 - 07:52 GMT
Syrian rescuers use an excavator to shift through the rubble
Syrian rescuers use an excavator to shift through the rubble of a collapsed building, on February 7, 2023, in the town of Jandaris, in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province, as a search operation continues following a deadly earthquake. At least 1,444 people died across Syria after a devastating earthquake that had its epicentre in southwestern Turkey, the government and rescuers said. (Photo by Mohammed AL-RIFAI / AFP)

ALBAWABA - Social media posts were abound with complaints that the international sanctions slapped on Syria are hampering relief efforts to the war-ravaged Arab nation, which was inflicted by a massive earthquake that killed hundreds and injured thousands of Syrians.

Commentators urged for lifting the embargo to facilitate access to necessary medicines, medical and food supplies, the way they are seeping across into Turkey, the other region devasted by the deadly 7.8-magnitude quake which rattled the area on Monday.

While countries are rushing to help Turkey, Syria feels like it is left alone although its northern region has literally been destroyed by the earthquake that jolted a large swath in northern Syria and southern Turkey. Officials in both countries say they fear that thousands more are believed missing and could possibly be trapped under the rubble from concrete buildings which were flattened to the ground.

Many blamed the obstructed relief efforts on Syria being under western sanctions enforced by the United States and its allies.  

A Syrian journalist said different provinces lacked medical supplies, staff and technical equipment to rescue quake survivors. "The reason is the sanctions," the journalist, Sara Salloum told Press TV from the Tishreen University Hospital in the Mediterranean city of Latakia.

Figures of the dead and injured are increasing all the time as more people are dug up from under the rubble in both Turkey and Syria.

Currently, the figure stand at more than 5,000 killed in Syria and Turkey.

In Syria, figures showed that at least 1,444 were killed. In government-controlled areas, the toll rose to 1,431 injured and 711 dead in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, Tartus, Syria's health ministry said.

In the rebel-held parts of the country's northwest, at least 733 people were killed and more than 2,100 injured, according to the White Helmets rescue group.

Later reports stated up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake that has killed thousands in Turkey and Syria, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday according to the AFP. "Event overview maps show that potentially 23 million people are exposed, including around five million vulnerable populations," WHO senior emergencies officer Adelheid Marschang told the U.N. health agency's executive committee.


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