Over 100 UN aid trucks crossed into NW Syria

 More than 100 trucks with United Nations aid, including tents, heaters and cholera testing kits, have crossed into northwest Syria since the earthquakes struck.

“The UN is continuing to scale up its operation with the plan to utilise all three Turkish-Syrian bor­der crossings, Bab Al-Hawa, Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra’ee, to ensure a constant reach of aid to different districts of north-west Syria,” read a UN statement.

Shelter needs were identified as the top priority among displaced populations in the opposition-con­trolled area, it added.

The United Nations humanitar­ian coordinator for Syria has said that the country’s death toll from last week’s deadly earthquakes was likely to rise further as teams scramble to remove rubble in hard-hit areas.

In an interview with The As­sociated Press, Muhannad Hadi defended the UN’s response to the disaster, which many in Syria have criticised as slow and inadequate. The UN has reported a death toll of about 5,800 for all of Syria, including 4,400 in the rebel-held northwest.

“We’re hoping that this num­ber will not increase by much,” Hadi said. “But from what we are seeing … the devastation of this earthquake is really not giving us a lot of hope that this will be the end of it.”

Hospitals in Syria are struggling to cope with the influx of patients after last week’s devastating earthquakes. Doctors are calling on the international community to help provide them with medical supplies and assistance.

The Turkish central bank’s net international reserves fell some $2.65bn to $24.44bn in the week to February 10, data from the bank showed on Thursday.

The Turkish lira lost around 30 per cent of its value against the dollar last year and 44 per cent in 2021.

Syria could face dangerous outbreaks of disease in the wake of last week’s devastating earth­quake if hundreds of thousands of displaced people do not get permanent housing soon, the Red Cross global chief said on Friday, as Syrians struggle to receive hu­manitarian aid amid the mounting crisis.

Jagan Chapagain, who is secre­tary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said families staying in makeshift shelters without adequate heating urgently need permanent housing. —Al Jazeera

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