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14.02.2023 | Press Release

Joint I/NGO Statement On Humanitarian Respond And Unfettered Access In Syria

Joint statement by national and international humanitarian organizations on humanitarian response in Syria, including Welthungerhilfe.

Ein Mitarbeiter einer Hilfsorganisation übergibt in Folie verpackte Brote an einen Mann
Der Welthungerhilfe-Partner SHAFAK verteilte Brotpakete an Menschen, die im Nordwesten Syriens aufgrund des Erdbebens erneut vertrieben wurden. © Welthungerhilfe
Simone Pott Team Communications

February 14, 2023, Syria. International NGOs working in Syria are calling for an urgent scale-up and immediate action to ensure humanitarian assistance to the population affected by the earthquake in Syria. The humanitarian response must match the scale of the disaster.

As Turkiye and Syria mark one week since the seismic earthquake, because no additional equipment and capacity were sent to NWS, the local rescue teams could only search 5% of the affected areas. The potential survivors trapped under the rubble of the other 95% were not rescued in time. The international community failed the Syrian people by not reacting fast enough and not supporting the search and rescue teams.

Conscious that this tragedy has impacted the whole humanitarian response, we express our deep admiration and support to the humanitarian organizations, volunteers and all humanitarian workers on the ground who are shouldering the response while being affected themselves.

The UN estimate that over 6,500 have been killed and 10,000 people injured in all areas of Syria. Millions lost their home and are experiencing a new displacement after 12 years of war and trauma. These numbers are likely to rise in the coming weeks. Lack of support through resources and equipment to the rescue teams in the affected areas has led to the loss of many lives.

NGOs are extremely concerned that the current level of response reaching the affected areas of Syria is nowhere near what is needed in face of the devastation. Seven days into the crisis, NGOs reiterate that a significant scaleup of efforts is needed to ensure unimpeded access to all affected areas of Syria through all means possible to save lives and reduce suffering…

Several earthquakes shook southeastern Türkiye, near the border with Syria, on February 6, 2023. People urgently need support now.

We want the international community to understand - the suffering of Syrians across the region, and their constantly worsening needs over the last 12 years of this protracted crisis have not gone away. The earthquake has brought new suffering, increased the number of people in need, exacerbated existing needs, and hampered the ongoing response. We see new unaccompanied children, collective shelters and existing camps are now full of people with no food, no water, no blankets, no heating options. What is needed is more assistance, more access, and more funding. Redirecting existing resources and funding from other parts of Syria is NOT the solution. That will only pit communities against each other, create more competition over inadequate funding, increase gaps in overall response, and undo vital progress made. We need immediate flexible new funding to reach the humanitarian community as fast as possible.

NGOs call for the international community to stay above politics, put humanitarian principles at the center and move forward with an urgent and immediate scale-up of humanitarian support to relieve the suffering of the affected populations and support those helping them.

Support victims of the earthquake with a donation

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organizations in Germany and enjoys both political and religious independence. It is fighting for “Zero Hunger by 2030”. Since being founded in 1962, it has provided funding of EUR 4.46 billion for more than 10,895 overseas projects in 70 countries. Welthungerhilfe bases its efforts on the principle of empowering people to help themselves, which it implements with measures ranging from rapid disaster relief to rehabilitation to long-term development cooperation projects with national and international partner organizations.

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