US provides $85 mln humanitarian aid to Türkiye, Syria

US provides $85 mln humanitarian aid to Türkiye, Syria

US provides $85 mln humanitarian aid to Türkiye, Syria

Foreign ministers of Türkiye and the United States exchanged a phone conversation on Feb. 9 over the latter’s assistance for the earthquake-hit southern region, as Washington announced a humanitarian aid package worth $85 million for Türkiye and Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to express the continued support of the U.S. and to discuss how Washington can continue its ongoing efforts to provide assistance in both Türkiye and Syria, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Feb. 9.

Blinken’s call with Çavuşoğlu was “primarily an effort to garner from our Turkish allies what they would like to see from the United States,” Price said.

The U.S. government is providing a Disaster Assistance Response Team that will coordinate with Turkish authorities on the full range of U.S. support, Price said, noting that the DART team comprises some 200 people, including two highly trained urban search and rescue teams, specialized equipment and canines, and that these teams have specialized training to coordinate with international partners in exactly this kind of situation.

Emergency responders, hazardous material technicians, engineers, logisticians, paramedics and planners, along with 170,000 pounds of specialized tools and equipment, have arrived in the quake zone, Price stated.

In addition, the U.S. is sending concrete breakers, generators, medical supplies, tents, water and water purification systems, Price noted.

“U.S. helicopters are helping rescue personnel reach areas difficult to access, given the extent of the destruction, and the U.S. is prepositioning additional relief equipment into the region that we hope will be able to join the recovery efforts,” he said.

“Our existing humanitarian partners are using U.S. resources to provide critical emergency relief, including food, water, shelter, medical care, and support staff to search and rescue efforts. We are proud to join the global efforts to help Türkiye, just as Türkiye has so often contributed its own humanitarian rescue experts to so many other countries in the past,” he added.

The U.S. said on Feb. 9 that it would provide $85 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to Türkiye and Syria after a massive earthquake that killed more than 20,000 people.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said two of its most highly trained Urban Search and Rescue Teams were conducting operations in support of Turkish rescue efforts in Adıyaman.

“Our existing humanitarian partners in both Türkiye and Syria are providing critical emergency relief, including food, water, shelter, medical care, and support staff for search and rescue efforts. U.S. helicopters are conducting airlift operations, transporting rescue personnel to sites where they are needed most,” said the statement.

The USAID welcomed that Türkiye reopened the border so aid can flow into northwest Syria, and the first U.N. aid convoy arriving via the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

“We call on the Assad regime to immediately allow aid in through all border crossings; allow the distribution of aid to all affected areas; and to let humanitarians access all people in Syria who are in need, without exception,” the statement said.

In both Türkiye and Syria, the U.S. will remain committed to doing whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to provide necessary assistance to those impacted by these earthquakes, it noted.