US announces $85mn aid, sanctions relief for quake-hit Turkey, Syria

admin 10 February, 2023
Updated 2023/02/10 at 11:46 AM
4 Min Read
A miner L who rescued 16 year old Melda after she was stuck for three days in rubble reacts with a fellow rescue team member in Hatay
A miner L who rescued 16 year old Melda after she was stuck for three days in rubble reacts with a fellow rescue team member in Hatay

Announcement comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss NATO ally’s needs

The United States on Thursday announced an preliminary $85 million aid package deal to help Turkiye and Syria get over the devastating earthquake, while also granting a brief comfort of some Damascus-associated sanctions.

The 7.Eight-magnitude quake struck early Monday near the Turkish-Syrian border, and through Friday morning the loss of life toll in both international locations topped 21,000. Search efforts persist but possibilities of locating survivors are dimming, AFP stated.

The US Agency for International Development stated the investment will visit companions on the ground “to deliver urgently needed aid for millions of human beings”, inclusive of via meals, refuge and emergency health services.

The investment may also support safe consuming water and sanitation to save you the outbreak of sickness, USAID stated in a declaration.

The assertion comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier Thursday spoke by cellphone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to speak about the NATO ally’s desires.

“We are proud to join the global efforts to help Turkiye simply as Turkiye has so frequently contributed its very own humanitarian rescue experts to so many different nations in the past,” State Department spokesman Ned Price informed reporters as he defined the decision.

The Treasury Department later introduced a temporary lifting of a few Syria-associated sanctions, hoping to make certain that aid moves as fast as viable to those affected.

The move “authorises for a hundred and eighty days all transactions related to earthquake alleviation that might be in any other case prohibited by using the Syrian Sanctions Regulations,” the branch said in a statement.

It stated however that US sanctions programs “already contain robust exemptions for humanitarian efforts.”

The United States has sent rescue groups to Turkiye and has contributed concrete breakers, turbines, water purification systems and helicopters, officials said Thursday.

USAID said rescue teams have been focused on badly hit Adiyaman — a city in southeastern Turkiye — looking for survivors with puppies, cameras and listening gadgets.

Following major harm to roads and bridges, the United States army has despatched Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters to transfer components, it said.

‘Allow aid in’ 

Assistance in Syria is going through local partners as the United States refuses to deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from whom Washington demands accountability over abuses during the brutal civil war.

“We call on the Assad regime to immediately allow aid in through all border crossings; allow the distribution of aid to all affected areas; and to let humanitarians access all people in Syria who are in need, without exception,” Blinken said in a statement Thursday evening.

An aid convoy earlier Thursday reached rebel-held northwestern Syria for the first time since the earthquake, going through the only open border crossing — Bab al-Hawa on the Turkish side.

Russia, the key international backer of Assad, has wielded its veto power at the UN Security Council to stop other crossings and authorise Bab al-Hawa only six months at a time as it tries to promote the sovereignty of the Damascus government.

As of Friday morning, the death toll from Monday’s earthquake topped 21,000 in Türkiye and Syria.

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