WHO chief says heading for Syria following deadly quake
GENEVA, Feb 10, 2023 (BSS/AFP) – World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that he was heading to Syria which has been hit, along with neighbouring Turkey, by a massive earthquake which has left over 21,000 people dead.
“On my way to #Syria, where @WHO is supporting essential health care in the areas affected by the recent earthquake, building on our long-standing work across the country,” the WHO chief tweeted.
At the same time, the United Nations announced that its Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Martin Griffiths would head this weekend to areas hit by the quake in both Turkey and Syria.
An aid convoy reached rebel-held northwestern Syria earlier Thursday, the first since the devastating earthquake, an official at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing told AFP.
The 7.8-magnitude quake early Monday has killed over 21,000 people in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria, according to officials and medics in the two countries, flattening entire neighbourhoods.
The WHO has warned of a secondary health crisis threatening to strike Turkey and Syria in the aftermath of the earthquake, which could be worse than the quake itself.
Tedros anticipated that the death toll would keep climbing, saying on Wednesday: “With the weather conditions and ongoing aftershocks, we’re in a race against time to save lives.”
“People need shelter, food, clean water and medical care, for injuries resulting from the earthquake, but also for other health needs.”