Aleppo (ICRC) – International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) president Mirjana Spoljaric visited Aleppo today, five days after a deadly earthquake hit southern Türkiye and northwest Syria.
Ms Spoljaric said: “It is difficult to find the words to describe the level of loss, suffering and destruction I have seen and heard about. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones in Syria and Türkiye.
“For this earthquake to occur in a war-shattered region is nothing short of a catastrophe. People are exhausted and scared. Their resilience has been shattered after years of conflict. In many places like Aleppo people had barely started to return home to rebuild their lives. Now they’re having to survive the freezing temperatures with next to nothing.
“Basic services needed to sustain life–clean water, heating, health care, electricity–were extremely weak prior to the earthquake. The humanitarian situation is even more severe today.
“The ICRC will do its utmost to support people – whoever and wherever they are. It is imperative we are granted full humanitarian access to all areas affected, and humanitarian action must not be hindered. This is a vital opportunity to de-politicise aid. Saving lives must be our collective priority.
“I want to pay tribute to the volunteers and first responders, including our Red Crescent partners, who are working day and night since Monday to save lives. Their continued efforts to help people hit by this disaster and the impacts of the years of conflict are remarkable.”
Meanwhile, during her visit to Syria, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Iranian Foreign Minister, had a phone conversation where they exchanged views about the latest state of efforts to get relief aid to quake-hit people in Syria and Türkiye.
In the time of disaster, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) supports the host National Society and takes the lead to coordinate the work of the various Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and plays a key role in the Red Cross & Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement’s contribution and response to the affected population. The ICRC responds to help people affected by armed conflict. The ICRC also responds to disasters in conflict zones, because the effects of a disaster are compounded if a country is already at war.
President Spoljaric’s visit to Syria to draw attention to the needs and plight of people was scheduled prior to the earthquake. Her visit to Aleppo is part of a six-day visit to the country with ICRC teams. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is on the ground in both Türkiye and Syria responding to emergency needs of earthquake victims.