May 28, 2023

Lara Adejoro

The Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus on Tuesday said continued aftershocks, severe winter conditions, and damage to roads, power supplies, communications, and other infrastructure continue to hamper access and other search and rescue efforts in Turkey and Syria.

Dr. Ghebreyesus who said this at the 152nd session of the Executive Board on the earthquake in Turkey and Syria noted that the organisation is dispatching three charter flights to both countries with medical supplies, including major surgical trauma kits

The Reportr Door reports that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Turkey and Syria, leaving over an estimated 5,000 people dead and thousands injured early Monday and thousands of buildings have also been reduced to rubble.

The earthquake is said to be the largest and deadliest one to hit Turkey in decades.

The WHO DG said the organisation is shocked and saddened by the images and reports coming from Turkey and Syria. While observing a minute silence, Ghebreyesus said “All of us extend our deepest sorrow and sympathy to the representatives of both countries here, and to your people.

“I would like to invite you all to stand with me to observe a minute’s silence, to honour those who have been lost, and to remember those who as we speak are desperately searching for survivors.”

He noted that the national officials in both countries are leading search and rescue operations while anticipating the increased need for trauma care to treat the injured.

“It’s now a race against time. Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminish.

“Continued aftershocks, severe winter conditions, and damage to roads, power supplies, communications and other infrastructure continue to hamper access and other search and rescue efforts.

“National officials in both countries are leading search and rescue operations while anticipating the increased need for trauma care to treat the injured.

“The initial focus is on saving lives and caring for wounds.

“We are especially concerned about areas where we do not yet have information,” he said.

He added that damage mapping is ongoing, to understand where we need to focus our attention.

“We are operating on a “no regrets” basis, with incident management teams rapidly established at national, regional and global levels.

“We are mobilising emergency supplies, and we have activated WHO’s network of emergency medical teams to provide essential health care for the injured and most vulnerable.

“WHO is dispatching three charter flights to both countries with medical supplies, including major surgical trauma kits, from our logistics hub in Dubai.

“We will work closely with all partners to support authorities in both countries, in the critical hours and days ahead, and in the months and years to come as both countries recover and rebuild.

“To our sisters and brothers from Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic, we all stand with you in this moment of unspeakable grief.

“This is a moment when we must come together in solidarity, as one humanity, to save lives and alleviate the suffering of people who have already suffered so much,” he said.

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