Doctors Without Borders gains access to quake zone in Syria

Doctors Without Borders gains access to quake zone in Syria
# 19 February 2023 23:06 (UTC +04:00)

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said a convoy of 14 of its trucks had entered northwestern Syria on Sunday to assist in earthquake rescue operations, as concerns grow over lack of access to the war-ravaged area, APA reports citing Reuters.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has been pressuring authorities in that region of Syria to stop blocking access as it seeks to help hundreds of thousands of people in the wake of the devastating Feb. 6 quake that hit the region.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, WFP Director David Beasley said the Syrian and Turkish governments had been cooperating very well, but that its operations were being hampered in northwestern Syria.

The agency last week said it was running out of stocks there and called for more border crossings to be opened from Turkey.

In Syria, already shattered by more than a decade of civil war, the bulk of fatalities have been in the northwest. The area is controlled by insurgents at war with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad which has complicated efforts to get aid to people.

Meanwhile, rescue efforts in Turkey were winding down on Sunday, with many praying only for bodies to mourn.

"Would you pray to find a dead body? We do ... to deliver the body to the family," said bulldozer operator Akin Bozkurt as his machine clawed at the rubble of a destroyed building in the town of Kahramanmaras.

"You recover a body from under tonnes of rubble. Families are waiting with hope," Bozkurt said. "They want to have a burial ceremony. They want a grave."

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