UN Aid Chief Says World Must Remember Those Displaced by Quake in Türkiye and Syria

Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, looks on during a presser in Maras, Türkiye, February 11, 2023. (Reuters)
Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, looks on during a presser in Maras, Türkiye, February 11, 2023. (Reuters)
TT

UN Aid Chief Says World Must Remember Those Displaced by Quake in Türkiye and Syria

Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, looks on during a presser in Maras, Türkiye, February 11, 2023. (Reuters)
Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, looks on during a presser in Maras, Türkiye, February 11, 2023. (Reuters)

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths appealed on Saturday to remember thousands of people who needed shelter and food while rescuers kept searching for survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit southern Türkiye and northwestern Syria.

Speaking during a news briefing in the Turkish province of Kahramanmaras, as rescuers worked behind him, Griffiths said he spoke to families who had been displaced and left cold and hungry by the quake.

"I am here to make sure these people are not forgotten," he told reporters.

Griffiths praised Türkiye’s response to the disaster as "extraordinary" and hailed the "courage of first responders working 24-hours, all the time, hoping for one more sound, one more person who survived."

"It's the beginning and in my experience people are always disappointed in the beginning," he said, in an apparent reference to criticism over the response to the quake.

He said what happened in the area around the epicenter of the quake was a "worst event in 100 years in this region."

He apparently meant the region's worst natural disaster: Monday's earthquake was Türkiye’s most devastating since 1939. Syria's 11-year war, which has killed hundreds of thousands and made millions homeless, remains the region's deadliest event in recent history.

Griffiths said he was launching a three-month operation for both Türkiye and Syria to help pay for the costs of operations there.

Griffiths also told Reuters he hoped in Syria aid would go to both government and opposition-held areas, but that things with this regard were "not clear yet".

Rescuers in opposition-held areas have criticized the United Nations and the international community for not responding quickly enough to the urgent needs there.



40 Dead in Heavy Rains in Afghanistan, 17 killed in Bus Accident

Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR
Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR
TT

40 Dead in Heavy Rains in Afghanistan, 17 killed in Bus Accident

Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR
Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR

Heavy rains in eastern Afghanistan have killed at least 40 people and injured nearly 350 others, Taliban officials said Tuesday. Separately, at least 17 died when a bus overturned on a main highway, official media said.
Sharafat Zaman Amar, a spokesperson for the Public Health Ministry, confirmed that 40 people had died in Monday's storm and that 347 injured people had been brought for treatment to the regional hospital in Nangarhar from Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, and nearby districts.
Among the dead were five members of the same family who were killed when the roof of their house collapsed in Surkh Rod district, according to provincial spokesperson Sediqullah Quraishi. Four other family members were injured, The Associated Press reported.
About 400 houses and 60 electricity poles were destroyed across Nangarhar province, Quraishi said. Power was cut in many areas and there were limited communications in Jalalabad city, he said. The damage was still being assessed, Quraishi said.
Abdul Wali, 43, said much of the damage occurred within an hour. “The winds were so strong that they blew everything into the air. That was followed by heavy rain,” he said. His 4-year-old daughter received minor injuries, he said.
In May, exceptionally heavy rains killed more than 300 people and destroyed thousands of houses, mostly in the northern province of Baghlan, according to the World Food Program.
Separately, the official Taliban news agency Bakhtar reported that at least 17 people were killed and 34 others injured when a bus overturned Tuesday morning on the main highway linking Kabul and Balkh in northern Baghlan province.
The cause of the accident wasn't immediately clear, but poor road conditions and careless driving are often blamed for such incidents in the country.