Advertisement

Blinken announces $100M more in earthquake aid during visit to Turkey

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday traveled to survey damage from two devastating earthquakes as he announced $100 million in funds for Turkey and Syria. Photo courtesy of Antony Blinken/Twitter
1 of 2 | U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday traveled to survey damage from two devastating earthquakes as he announced $100 million in funds for Turkey and Syria. Photo courtesy of Antony Blinken/Twitter

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday traveled to survey damage from two devastating earthquakes as he announced $100 million in funds for Turkey and Syria.

"Profoundly saddened to see firsthand the devastation of the earthquakes in Turkey. The United States remains committed to doing everything we can to help with rescue, relief and recovery efforts," Blinken said in a statement.

Advertisement

Blinken said the United States has already responded with $85 million in humanitarian assistance after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6 followed by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hours later, leaving tens of thousands dead.

"Today, I am announcing plans for an additional $100 million to provide lifesaving aid in Turkey and Syria," Blinken said. "The United States will continue to stand with the Turkish and Syrian people."

The funding will be used to help Turkish officials distribute "core relief and lifesaving items" such as blankets, mattresses, food packs, warm clothing, tents and shelter materials, Blinken added in another statement.

"It will additionally support medicine and health services, clean water and sanitation efforts, and programs supporting the education of children and youth impacted by this tragic earthquake," Blinken said.

Advertisement

Blinken said that the funds would be provided through the State Department's Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau along with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

His visit to Turkey was announced by the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry, which said Blinken will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Blinken shared photos on Twitter of himself surveying the damage from a helicopter with Çavuşoğlu.

The latest death tolls from Thursday show that at least 38,044 people died in Turkey from the earthquakes.

In Syria, the White Helmets group said that its teams have made no reports of missing people found under the rubble for several days but that 550 buildings were completely destroyed.

The White Helmets said in a statement Tuesday that 2,274 fatalities in northwestern Syria, which has been held by Syrian opposition forces.

In the latest figures provided by the Syrian Health Ministry last Sunday, the death toll in parts of the country controlled by the government of Bashar al-Assad has risen to 1,414 deaths with 2,349 injuries reported.

Latest Headlines