I have seen first-hand the devastating impact of the earthquake and listened to the stories of survivors.
In Aleppo yesterday I met Nour, a girl who lost both her parents and suffered a broken arm when their 6-storey apartment building fell.
Nour is just one example of an unfolding tragedy that is affecting millions.
The compounding crises of conflict, COVID, cholera, economic decline and now the earthquake have taken an unbearable toll.
I also offer my deep respect and admiration to the survivors and responders, including our own WHO staff.
I have been so impressed by the dignity, faith and hope expressed by so many survivors, and by the dedication of the responders.
WHO is with the Syrian people, and with the people of Türkiye.
National and international organizations, neighbours, mosques, churches and community groups are racing to provide people with a place to sleep and feel safe, with food, clean water and medical care, for injuries resulting from the earthquake, but also for other health needs.
At one of the shelters I visited yesterday, a mobile health clinic supported by WHO was distributing medicines to people who had come in for support for a range of conditions.
Many people had headaches, difficulty sleeping and anxiety.
WHO and other organizations have trained community workers to offer rapid mental health support, but much more is needed.
In addition, WHO is providing medical supplies, and working with partners to provide specialised medical care.
So far, we have distributed 110 tons of medical supplies to affected areas throughout the Syrian Arab Republic.
A flight is scheduled to reach Damascus tonight with specialised emergency health supplies, which are vital for frontline workers as they manage casualties.
In addition, we are supporting surge capacity of frontline specialised medical teams.
On the morning of the earthquake, WHO immediately accessed its pre-positioned supplies in the northwest and Aleppo, making treatment of major injuries immediately possible.
After checking on the welfare of their own families, our staff immediately went to warehouses to start distributing supplies to health facilities.
WHO is working across all affected areas and further scaling up across the country, including in the northwest.
WHO immediately made available 16 million US dollars from the Contingency Fund for Emergencies for the response in both the Syrian Arab Republic and Türkiye.
Today, we have launched an appeal for 43 million US dollars to support WHO’S response in both countries. This will increase as the magnitude of this disaster becomes even more clear.
But we need to take the response to the next level, to reach all affected populations, in all areas.
We welcome the easing of sanctions by the United States of America.
We also welcome the recent blanket approval by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic for the UN for cross-line conveys, as well as measures to increase cross-border access. We hope this continues.
I am waiting to move across lines to the northwest, where we have been told the impact is even worse.
Earlier this afternoon I met with His Excellency President Assad, who indicated he was open to considering additional cross-border access points for this emergency.
Once again, WHO is committed to supporting the Syrian people now, and in the days, weeks, months and years ahead, to respond to this disaster, and to build a stronger health system for all Syrians.
Please Visit Our Sponsors