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The international community commits 7,000 million for the reconstruction of Turkey and Syria after the earthquake


The donations come after the UN lamented the weak response to the flash appeal to raise funds for the two affected countries

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, this Monday in Brussels. JOHN THYS (AFP)

The international community closes ranks with the populations of Turkey and Syria after the devastating earthquake that on February 6 left more than 57,000 dead and devastated cities and entire communities.

The dozens of participants in a donor conference organized by the European Commission and the Swedish presidency of the EU have committed on Monday a total of 7,000 million euros in aid for the reconstruction of the area dragged in the worst natural disaster in decades in the region .

It is "a good day for international solidarity", the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has celebrated, just after the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, announced the final accumulated amount, after a day of discussions in the in which some 60 countries and international institutions have participated.

The donations are known after, two weeks ago, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) regretted the weak response to the urgent appeal that it made in mid-February to raise more than 1,000 million in three months. dollars for Turkey and another 400 million for Syria.

Brussels alone has announced that it will release 1.1 billion euros for reconstruction in Turkey and another 108 million more for humanitarian aid in neighboring Syria.

Several countries, including Spain, have also promised to help with millionaire supplementary funds, although with amounts that are far from the losses estimated by those affected.

In total, Von der Leyen has highlighted, almost half of the promised donations, 3.3 billion, come from Europe.

“We have shown the world that we support those who need us.

And that we are always with our partners ”, he asserted.

"We will make sure that the commitments are delivered in full and on time", promised the head of the European Executive, who at the opening of the conference had recalled that, a month and a half after the tragedy, "the needs of the survivors continue to be massive and they must be attended to urgently."

"Millions have been left homeless and live in tents," Von der Leyen recalled.

Among the priorities, he has listed, is "rebuilding houses, schools and hospitals" under the "best" anti-seismic standards, repairing infrastructure to guarantee the flow of drinking water, as well as recapitalizing public services and private businesses so that families can go out forward in the long term.

Most of the aid will go to Turkey, the country most affected by the earthquakes, and for which the most reliable figures are also available.

Some 950 million euros of the total commitment will be allocated to the affected population in Syria, Von der Leyen has indicated.

The package promised by the European Commission has been joined by donations from different countries participating in the international conference, chaired by Von der Leyen and by Kristersson, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU (and which Turkey maintains vetoed for the moment). entry into NATO).

Members of the EU as well as candidate countries, members of the G-20 —except Russia—, Gulf countries and international humanitarian and financial organizations were invited to the meeting in Brussels.

Sweden will contribute 45 million euros, an amount similar to that announced by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, who has announced that Spain will contribute a "first package" of 55 million euros.

Of these, he has advanced in statements to the press, 50 million will be soft loans available to Turkey and the rest, humanitarian aid for the victims in the two countries.

Germany, for its part, has revealed that it will double its aid to victims to 240 million euros, while France will add 12 million to the 30 already provided at first.

The United States has taken advantage of the conference to announce that it will increase its aid by another 50 million dollars, for a total of 235 million dollars (about 220 million euros).

The aid, according to Kristersson, will be channeled through the international agencies of the United Nations.

The meeting on Monday, held within the framework of a council of foreign and defense ministers meeting to discuss sending more munitions to Ukraine, "provides the EU and the international community with the opportunity to show the Turks and Syrians that we will be by their side to rebuild their lives”, the Swedish prime minister had assured.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the region in the early hours of February 6, followed by a powerful aftershock a few hours later, killed at least 50,000 people in Turkey and more than 7,000 in Syria, though there the figures are less precise due to the complicated political situation in the affected area.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-20

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