Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, has announced €2 million in emergency assistance to the people of Türkiye and Syria following the devastating earthquakes which struck the region. With many confirmed dead, many injured and more fatalities expected, search and rescue operations are continuing amidst wide scale destruction, harsh winter conditions and loss of power.
The €2 million allocation is in direct response to the emergency appeal for funding from the Government of Türkiye and aid agencies working in Türkiye and Northwest Syria. The assistance will support immediate and urgent humanitarian needs on the ground. The funds will be allocated to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund, which are both best placed to respond immediately and to support local and international organisations already working on the ground to save lives in Turkiye and Northwest Syria.
Ireland also provides pre-positioned funds to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which reacts rapidly and at scale when disasters happen. Ireland’s contribution to the CERF for 2023 amounts to EUR 12.5 million. The EU has also announced that it will provide significant support to those affected across the region.
Announcing the funding, the Tánaiste said, “the people of Ireland have been shocked by the loss of life in Türkiye and Syria as a result of the devastating earthquakes. Thousands have already lost their lives and it is feared the numbers will only increase in the days ahead. In response, I have made an initial allocation of €2 million to the IFRC and the UN to address the urgent and immediate humanitarian needs of those affected in Türkiye and Syria.”
“The people of Northwest Syria already face enormous challenges as a result of conflict and displacement. Ireland has consistently supported the Syria refugee response over many years, contributing €23 million annually in support of Syrian refugees and host countries across the region. These communities in NW Syria need our support now more than ever.”
In response to the disaster, Minister of State for International Development and the Diaspora, Seán Fleming, expressed his concern for people across the region, “the unfolding devastation in Türkiye and Northwest Syria, where people’s lives have already been severely affected by conflict and displacement, will place extraordinary pressure on the humanitarian response in both countries. Funding from Ireland will support them to provide assistance to the most vulnerable. These earthquakes have destroyed hundreds of homes and devastated thousands of lives. It is imperative that we act quickly with direct funding and through the EU to provide the urgent help needed.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs continues to monitor the situation closely through our Embassies in Ankara and Cairo and is in close contact with United Nations and aid agency representatives on their response as the extent of the devastation and level of need becomes clearer.