For Syrians, the earthquakes bring another disaster | News about earthquakes

Strong earthquakes have wreaked havoc in the war-torn country, exacerbating the crises faced by internally displaced people and refugees.

It is the latest disaster for a nation that has already suffered a lot.

Images of Syrians, young and old, crawling helplessly from under the rubble have unfortunately become a common sight during the nearly 12 years of war in Syria, especially in the opposition-held northwest of the country.

But this time it was not airstrikes or shelling that was responsible, but a natural phenomenon.

The pain and suffering were no less real.

Hundreds of people have already been confirmed dead as a result of Monday’s earthquake across northern Syria, both in government-held and opposition-held areas – and the number is expected to rise.

The disaster will only worsen living conditions for those in the area – many of them internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have been living in poverty after fleeing government-held areas.

“Millions have already been forced to flee by war in the wider region, and now many more will be displaced by the disaster,” the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement. “In the midst of a winter storm and an unprecedented cost of living crisis, it is critical that Syrians are not left to face the consequences alone.”

But Syrians have often been left to fend for themselves, while international attention has focused on the protracted conflict and the plight of the Syrian people.

Even the United Nations’ aid mandate in opposition-held areas of Syria must be renewed every six months, leaving local residents feeling constant uncertainty about whether they will receive the aid they need to survive.

Jinderes, Sarmada, Azaz and Atma – and many other small towns like them – are names that have become known outside of Syria only as battlefields, or targets of attack, or hosts of refugee camps full of tents and haphazard accommodation.

They now stand destroyed, and the temporary buildings erected to accommodate the tens of thousands of people who sought refuge there proved to be unstable and unable to withstand such powerful earthquakes.

Poor infrastructure in the region has already contributed to the spread of diseases such as cholera. Much of it was affected by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally, Russia. Some were restored, many were not.

And with much of the existing infrastructure now damaged or gone, further spread of the disease can be expected.

Syrians who managed to cross the border into southern Turkey in the last ten years did not manage to escape the destruction – the epicenter of the original earthquake was in the region itself.

Anyone who has been to the cities in that region of Turkey – Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Antakya, Sanliurfa, Kilis – will tell you that they have become a home away from home for Syrians.

Now families who survived the war in their own country and the uncertainty of refugee life have lost their homes, that is, their lives, in a cruel way.

And in the dead of winter, on both sides of the border, Syrians and Turks alike face the pain of losing loved ones and the uncertainty of what the future may hold.

Interactive_Turkey_Syria_Earthquake-UPDATE 4
(Al Jazeera)

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