Heavy equipment shortage affects rescue operations in northern Syria
The main rescue agency in the opposition-held areas continues to issue distress calls and appeals to the international community to secure the heavy equipment and fuel necessary for its operation to rescue civilians trapped under the rubble due to the deadly magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, leaving more than 5000 people dead.
Despite the continuation of rescue operations by the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) in various regions of northwestern Syria, the delay in rescue operations due to the limited capabilities and the inability of the SCD to secure heavy equipment that covers the need warns of an increase in the number of deaths under the rubble.
At least 900 people were killed and about 2300 injured, according to figures from the Civil Defense agency in the northwestern regions.
Raed al-Saleh, director of the Civil Defense, told Enab Baladi that the organization has communicated with its partners and supporting countries to secure the heavy machinery needed to respond to the disaster.
The rescue agency did not receive any news of the provision of heavy equipment until the moment of publishing this report, according to what al-Saleh said.
Al-Saleh added that the Civil Defense did not receive any form of support, pointing to the possibility of logistical problems with the delivery of equipment to northwestern Syria in case countries initiated sending them due to the great catastrophe in Turkey.
This prompted the Civil Defense (The White Helmets) to launch a campaign entitled “Support the Syrian Heroes” to collect donations to cover the needs of the search and rescue teams.
Enab Baladi contacted the US State Department and the EU to obtain information about the response to the Civil Defense’s requests to secure heavy rescue vehicles, but it did not receive a response until this report was published.
During the past hours, many people went to participate in search and rescue operations in the affected places amid the great need for rescue teams, and the Civil Defense declared northern Syria a “disaster” area.
The numerous footage from the earthquake-stricken areas shows that many teams and volunteers used primitive tools during search and rescue operations due to the lack of capabilities in the area.
The catastrophe worsens
In the latest statistics issued by the Syria Civil Defense teams, the death toll from the earthquake in northwestern Syria has risen to more than 900 deaths and more than 2,300 injured, with the number expected to increase “significantly” due to the presence of hundreds of families under the rubble and the occurrence of aftershocks.
While the number of destroyed buildings increased to more than 210 completely destroyed buildings and more than 520 partially destroyed, while thousands have been cracked.
This comes in light of the low temperatures and the continued presence of a strong wind storm accompanied by heavy rain and snow in the region.
According to the latest statistics of the regime’s health ministry, the death toll in regime-held areas reached a total of 812, while 1,449 people have been injured.
In her turn, Madevi Sun-Suon, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), told Reuters that “The flow of critical U.N. aid from Turkey to northwest Syria has temporarily halted due to damage to roads and other logistical issues related to the deadly earthquake that struck the two countries on Monday.”
“Some roads are broken, some are inaccessible. There are logistical issues that need to be worked through,” Sun-Suon added.
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