Turkey-Syria earthquake: A 17-year-old girl has been safely rescued and pulled alive from the rubble of a devastating earthquake, at least 10 days after it struck parts of Turkey and Syria.
Minor girl Aleyna Ölmez was called the miracle girl when she was pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey on Thursday (February 16), almost 248 hours after the February 6 quake, as rescue efforts shift to recovery operations ten days on from the disaster.
At least 41,000 people have died across Turkey and neighboring Syria following the powerful 7.8 magnitude quake, according to authorities. Efforts to retrieve survivors have been hampered by a cold winter spell across quake-stricken regions, while authorities grapple with the logistical challenges of transporting aid into northwestern Syria amid an acute humanitarian crisis compounded by years of political strife.
US State Secretary Antony Blinken to visit quake-hit Turkey on February 19:
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Turkey on Sunday to view relief operations after a massive earthquake.Blinken will visit the Incirlik air base, through which aid is flowing, and then hold talks with senior Turkish officials in the capital Ankara, the US State Department announced. "Secretary Blinken will visit Incirlik Air Base in Turkiye on February 19 to see firsthand US efforts to assist the Turkish authorities responding to the devastation caused by the February 6 earthquakes," read the statement of US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
He also informed that Blinken will then travel to Ankara, where he will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and other senior Turkish officials "to discuss continued US support to Turkiye and the Turkish people after the devastating earthquakes, as well as ways to further strengthen our partnership with Turkiye as a valued NATO Ally."Secretary Blinken will also thank the Government of Turkiye for its support for cross-border aid to affected areas of Syria.Notably, Blinken will travel to Germany, Turkiye, and Greece February 16-22, 2023.
UN appeals for $1 billion to help Turkey quake survivors:
The United Nations launched a $1 billion appeal Thursday to help 5.2 million survivors of the most devastating earthquake in Turkey’s modern history, two days after starting a $397 million appeal to help nearly 5 million Syrians across the border in the rebel-held northwest.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric was peppered with questions about why the appeal for Turkey is targeted at only 5.2 million people when according to the U.N. and the government more than 15 million people were affected. He also was asked why the appeal for Turkey is 2½ times larger than the one for Syria to help almost the same number of people. He said the Turkish appeal “was designed in very close cooperation with the government of Turkey, which is leading the relief efforts.”
“This is the number they came up with for the focus on people who need the most humanitarian aid, most quickly, and where the U.N. can be most effective,” Dujarric said. He said Turkey has “a very efficient search and rescue and humanitarian system.”
As for the disparity in the amount of the appeals, he said, part of the reason is that “there is already a well-established humanitarian community which has been working in Syria,” and before the quake there was a $4.8 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria for 2023.
(With agencies inputs)