Idlib, February 6, 2023
As the aftermath of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in north west Syria and Turkey continues to unfold, and while the affected areas are still under the threat of further aftershocks, it is very alarming to us that more than 30 hours after the main earthquake hit north west Syria there is still NO effective delivery of any international humanitarian or logistical aid.
The window of opportunity to save innocent lives currently under the rubble (estimated to be in thousands) is closing, while there is a serious shortage of food, shelter and medical supplies to assist the survivors, in the midst of extremely adverse weather conditions.
We must not allow the tragedy in north west of Syria to be overshadowed by identical
circumstances in neighbouring Turkey. NW Syria is suffering already due to continued attacks from the Syrian regime and Russia, which has made the infrastructure vulnerable and prone to collapse.
Instead of this driving more aid, we have seen almost no international aid in the case of north west Syria so far.
Cross-border humanitarian assistance and logistical support, especially heavy machinery needed to save lives under rubble, must be facilitated at once to save innocent lives under the rubble and of those injured. All border crossings must be opened for aid delivery to compensate for those routes that may have been damaged by the earthquake
The immediate delivery of humanitarian aid should not be bound to any political decision, nor subject to inhuman political blackmailing by any party, including the Syrian regime. The delivery has to be directly and swiftly to the affected areas without any further delays.
Another pressing issue that is totally overlooked right now is the situation of the Maydanki (Afrin) dam in north west Syria that has suffered considerable structural damages due to the earthquake.
Any further damages to the dam or its collapse will endanger dozens of villages that might be completely flooded. Specialised units and teams of experts are needed to access the area promptly to assess the situation and take the required preventive measures.
We urge you to escalate requests for emergency aid to the highest possible levels knowing that every hour that goes by without decisive interventions of the international community translates into the loss of dozens and hundreds of innocent lives that we could save.
This is the ultimate test of humanity. Syrians in the north west Syria have been among the most vulnerable populations in the world even before this catastrophic earthquake. They must not be left to perish due to our collective inaction.