US offers help to earthquake victims in Turkey, Syria
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, issued a statement late on Sunday, expressing Washington’s “profound concern” and its readiness to help with the “destructive earthquake in Turkey and Syria.”
“We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan said.
“President Biden has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess US response options to help those most affected,” and “we will continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with the government of Turkey.”
Substantial Death Toll in Turkey and Syria
The New York Times stated on Monday morning that over 500 people were reported to have died in Turkey and Syria, “and the toll was expected to rise” from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter lies near the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, close to the border with Syria.
Read More: Major quake levels buildings across southeastern Turkey
The quake was felt over a broad area all the way to Cyprus in the west, and including Egypt, Israel, and Lebanon. The quake was also felt in the Kurdistan Region. In Erbil, tall buildings shook perceptibly.
Turkey lies in an earthquake-prone area. The last major quake occurred in 1999, when an astonishing number of people—some 18,000—died.
That huge death toll prompted Turkish authorities to tighten building codes, so as not to suffer a similar catastrophe in the future. It seems to have had some impact, as Turkish media is reporting that newer buildings have survived the earthquake much better than older structures.
Support from the Kurdistan Region
The leadership of the Kurdistan Region has, like that in the US and elsewhere, expressed its condolences to the victims of the earthquake and offered to provide assistance in the recovery efforts.
“My thoughts are with the families of the victims and the injured whose lives have been affected by last night’s earthquake across the region,” Prime Minister Masrour Barzani tweeted, adding, “The KRG stands ready to help with rescue efforts.”
Read More: KRG ready to help with rescue efforts of deadly earthquake, says PM Barzani
Similarly, Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, and Nechirvan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, expressed condolences to the victims and their families.