ANTACYA, Feb. 14 (AP) — Aid agencies and governments stepped up efforts Tuesday to send help to parts of Turkey and Syria devastated by earthquakes, but a week after the disaster, many complained they were still struggling to meet Basic needs like finding shelter from severe cold.
The situation in Syria is particularly desperate, where a 12-year civil war has complicated relief efforts and meant days of debate over how to get aid into the country, let alone distribute it.
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Some of the people there who lost their homes said they got nothing. Meanwhile, in Turkiye, several families are crammed into a one-room tent.
On Monday, the United Nations announced a deal with Damascus to deliver U.N. aid through two more crossings from Turkey to rebel-held areas in northwestern Syria, but the need remains huge.
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Ahmed Ismail Suleiman builds a blanket shelter outside his damaged home in the town of Jinderis, one of the worst-hit communities in northwestern Syria.
He is terrified of moving his family back to a house that may be structurally unstable but cannot be repaired.
As a result, 18 family members are currently sleeping outside in small makeshift tents.
“We sit, but we can’t lie down here and sleep,” he said.
“We are waiting for a suitable tent.”
Mahmoud Haffar, head of the Jinderis local council, said locals have been able to locate about 2,500 tents so far, but about 1,500 families remained without shelter – as nighttime temperatures dropped to around minus 4 degrees Celsius (26 degrees Fahrenheit).
While tents are in short supply, one woman said the town has more than enough bread and water donated.
In the southwest, in government-controlled Latakia, Raeefa Breemo said aid appeared to be coming only to those crammed into shelters.
“We need to eat, we need to drink, we need to survive. Our jobs, our lives, everything stopped,” Bremer said.
From rescuers to generators to medical equipment, help is being provided around the world, but the need remains huge after the 7.8-magnitude quake and powerful aftershocks collapsed or damaged tens of thousands of buildings, destroyed roads and closed airports for some time .
The quake affected 10 governorates of Turkiye, home to about 13.5 million people, and a large swath of northwestern Syria, home to millions of people.
Most of the water supply system in the quake-hit area is not working properly, and Turkiye’s health minister said samples taken from dozens of points in the system showed the water was not fit for drinking.
In Adiyaman, Turkey, on Sunday, Mohammad Arslan listed everything he needed: water, electricity and a bigger tent.
He said seven people are currently sleeping in one room.
“We’re also battling the cold. … What we’ll do, I don’t know,” the 28-year-old said.
“We have little kids. We can handle that, but little kids, they’re 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds. What are we going to do with them?”
While the first Saudi aid plane carrying 35 tons of food landed in Syrian government-controlled Aleppo on Tuesday, delivering aid to the country’s rebel-held Idlib is particularly complicated.
So far, the United Nations has only been allowed to deliver aid to the region through a single border crossing with Turkey or through government territory, which poses its own logistical and political challenges.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to open two new crossings from Turkey to Syria’s rebel-held northwest, the United Nations said on Monday.
The crossings at Bab al-Salameh and Al Raée will initially be open for three months.
Russia has bristled at suggestions that the opening could be made permanent, with its foreign ministry accusing the West of trying to send aid “exclusively” to areas not controlled by the Syrian government.
“It’s now the ninth day and we’re still hearing questions about when the aid will come in. We heard yesterday that two crossings might open,” said Hafar of Jandris local council.
“We hope that there will be more international interaction and that international aid will ease the crisis.”
“But so far no aid has arrived,” he said.
Fourteen Syrian-American doctors entered Syria on Tuesday to help treat earthquake victims, a border official said.
Alloush posted several photos of the team, with one member standing in front of a clinic run by the Syrian American Medical Association, which is active in Syria’s rebel-held northwest.
Meanwhile, the death toll topped 35,500 — nearly 32,000 of them in Turkey. In Syria, the death toll in rebel-held areas in the northwest has surpassed 2,200, according to the aid group known as the “White Helmets”.
More than 1,400 people have died in government-controlled areas, according to the Syrian Ministry of Health.
The death toll will almost certainly rise as search teams find more bodies – and the window to find survivors is closing.
A mining search and rescue team rescued teacher Emine Akgul from an apartment building in Antakya more than 200 hours after the quake, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
In Adiyaman province, rescuers located Muhammed Cafer Cetin, 18, after paramedics administered him intravenous fluids before attempting a dangerous evacuation from a building that The object collapsed further as rescuers worked.
Medical staff fitted him with a neck brace and removed him on a stretcher with an oxygen mask, Turkish television showed.
Two other people were rescued from a destroyed building in central Kahramanmaras, near the epicenter.
Dozens of rescue workers and Turkish soldiers at the scene hugged and applauded after the rescue, including 17-year-old Muhammed Enes, who was wrapped in a thermal blanket and killed in an image shown by broadcaster Haberturk. The stretcher was loaded into the ambulance.
Rescuers then demanded silence, with someone yelling “Can anyone hear me?” in a frantic search for more survivors.
Many in Turkey are blaming the wrong building for the massive damage, as authorities continue to target contractors allegedly linked to the collapsed building.
Turkiye has introduced building codes that meet earthquake engineering standards, but experts say these codes are rarely enforced. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)