EU pledges €1 billion for post-quake reconstruction in Turkey
The European Commission said Monday it will support Turkey with one billion euros ($1.07 billion) to help with reconstruction in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated parts of the country and neighboring Syria last month. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU's executive arm, also pledged 108 million euros in humanitarian aid for Syria at the opening of a donors' conference in Brussels gathering the bloc's international partners to raise money for both countries.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Feb. 6 killed more than 52,000 people – the vast majority in Turkey. Nearly 300,000 buildings in Turkey either collapsed or were severely damaged, according to the country's president.
The International Rescue Committee, an aid group responding to humanitarian crises, said the situation in the region remains critical and urged donors to ensure that the UN’s appeal for Turkey and Syria – calling for $1 billion and $397 million respectively – is fully funded.
“The people affected by this devastating earthquake are relying on donors meeting in Brussels to step up this week,” said Tanya Evans, the IRC’s Country Director in Syria. "They need to ensure that funding is available for life-saving items including food, shelter, warm clothes and clean water, as well as support to the already weak healthcare system including the provision of medicines and medical equipment. If they fail to do so, the most vulnerable will pay the price,” she added.