Turkey-Syria: Death Toll Touches 21,000; World Bank Announces Aid

ISTANBUL: The death toll following the series of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has risen to 21,051. In Turkey, 17,674 people have been killed and 72,879 sustained injuries so far. In Syria, as many as 3,377 have been killed.

In order to ensure proper healthcare for the quake victims, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has left for Syria. “I am on my way to Syria, where WHO is supporting essential health care in the areas affected by recent earthquake, building on our long-standing work across the country,” the WHO chief tweeted.

In terms of financial aid, The World Bank said on Thursday it is providing Turkey with $1.78 billion in relief and recovery financing assistance as the country struggles with the aftermath of an earthquake that has killed over 20,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The World Bank said in a statement that $780 million will become available for Ankara immediately, as the funds will be diverted from two existing World Bank loan projects in Turkey. Another $1 billion in assistance for Turkey’s recovery and reconstruction is also being prepared but will take more time to arrange, a World Bank spokesperson said.

The White House has also announced USD 85 million in humanitarian assistance to those impacted, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a statement.

Amidst the severe infrastructure damage, the United Nations cultural agency Unesco has found that several historic structures in the ancient cities of Antakya, Sanliurfa and Aleppo sustained damage or collapsed completely.

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