The international community pledged a total of €7 billion on 20th March at the ‘Together for the People of Turkey and Syria’ International Donors’ Conference, co-hosted by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, for the Swedish Council Presidency.
More than 60 delegations from the European Union, its Member States and partners, including the United Nations, international and European financial institutions such as the EIB and the EBRD, and other relevant stakeholders gathered in Brussels to mobilise support for the people of Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes of February 2023 and to coordinate the response in both countries. Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell presided over the pledging session. Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenari delivered a speech on the impact of earthquakes and immediate emergency response in Turkey and Syria.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today is a very good day for international solidarity. Together with our partners, we have raised €7 billion in total to support the people in Türkiye and Syria, following the devastating earthquakes. More than half of this pledge comes from Team Europe. We have shown to the world that we are supporting those in need. And we always stand by our partners.”
Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson said: ”Today’s meeting had one important goal: to turn our words of condolences and solidarity into action.And provide a strong, efficient, and coordinated response to help the people affected by the devastating earthquakes. For the Swedish EU Presidency, we are grateful for the good cooperation with the Commission in arranging today’s conference, and very impressed by the substantial results today, and humbled by the important work ahead of us.”
The total pledge of this International Donors’ conference amounts to €7 billion, of which €6.05 billion in grants and loans for Türkiye and €950 million in grants for Syria. The European Commission and the EU Member States, as well as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development represent more than 50% of this total pledge of grants, with €3.6 billion.
The funds for Türkiye will be used to cover humanitarian needs and help the reconstruction of the affected regions. The preliminary damage assessment in Türkiye demonstrates very large needs above USD 100 billion with a lot of damage to public infrastructure and residential buildings. The reconstruction efforts will ensure that all international standards for construction in seismic regions are taken into account and also the priorities of the Turkish Green Deal. The funds for Syria will be used to help meet humanitarian needs and support early recovery and resilience.
An international donors’ conference in support of the people of Turkey and Syria will be hosted by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council on 20 March in Brussels
On 6 February 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, followed by two devastating tremors, struck Türkiye and Syria, causing widespread destruction, and killing more than fifty thousand people. The European Union immediately mobilised support for the people in Türkiye and Syria after the earthquake. EU humanitarian partners on the ground have responded providing shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene and health services and distribution of food and in-kind assistance such as blankets, winter clothing and other essential relief items.
A total of 1,750 rescuers and 111 search dogs were immediately deployed to Türkiye via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, in the largest-ever search and rescue operation of the Mechanism. European countries also deployed six medical teams, including 5 field hospitals and a medical evacuation plane via the Mechanism. They have already treated 15 000 people. In addition, 21 European countries sent assistance via the Mechanism, including shelter equipment, heaters, generators, furniture, medical equipment, hygiene kits, food, and warm clothing for the population in Türkiye. The EU also mobilised its rescEU stockpiles to provide shelter, beds, and medical equipment.
In Syria EU funded humanitarian partners conducted search and rescue operations, they also continue to provide shelter, water and sanitation services, health care, and basic needs. In addition, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated 2 days after the earthquake. Relief from 16 European countries was trucked in via Tϋrkiye and Lebanon to government and non-government controlled areas. The EU also sent critical shelter items, including winterised tents and heaters to the Syrian people from the European Humanitarian Response Capacity warehouses in Brindisi and Dubai to support the aid efforts throughout the country.
The Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) supported the needs assessment by providing data on the earthquake impact on buildings, especially on the volume of debris, used to estimate economic figures for reconstruction needs. The JRC also provided an analysis on the floods, possible earthquake-affected dams, as well as of the impact of the earthquake on the cultural heritage or on agriculture in Türkiye and in Syria.
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