On the morning of 6 February 2023, consecutive earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 struck both Turkey and Syria, with majority-Kurdish regions particularly affected. A major humanitarian catastrophe has resulted, with over 25,000 deaths to date and millions displaced.
Many political and civil institutions, organisations and individual actors, from both within and without the affected regions, have taken urgent action to reach the disaster zone. However, despite the arrival of some aid to some locations, many hundreds of thousands of people in Syria alone are still homeless, or trapped under the rubble waiting to be rescued. Many districts are still without food, electricity, shelter or other fundamental necessities to ensure their survival.
Unfortunately, many parties to the Syrian conflict have put political calculations before their humanitarian and moral imperatives. In many places, these actors have become an obstacle to the delivery of humanitarian aid.
As the Kurdish Red Crescent, since the beginning of the disaster, we have declared our readiness to reach and help the afflicted regardless of location, and respond to their needs to the utmost of our abilities. Many obstacles prevented us from reaching the regions of Afrin and Jinderes. The same is true now as regards out attempted delivery of aid to Aleppo, Sheikh Maqsoud and al-Shahba, where the Syrian regime is placing significant obstacles before us.
Following ten years of war, 90% of buildings in Aleppo are unsafe and no longer suitable for people to live in. Following the earthquake, the danger has reached such a level that no-one is able to live in these houses any longer. Tens of thousands of people are currently living outside in freezing temperatures without shelter, food, water, and heating. If they are not reached as soon as possible, a humanitarian catastrophe worse than the earthquake itself will inevitably ensue.
As such, the Kurdish Red Crescent is issuing an urgent appeal to all humanitarian agencies on the basis of our shared democratic and humanitarian values. We ask them to urgently intervene and open secure, internationally-guaranteed humanitarian corridors into the affected regions to enable us to deliver all necessary assistance to these populations in such desperate need.
Kurdish Red Crescent