Hopes are fading to find more living survivors from the acres of rubble left in Turkey and Syria by the most disastrous quake in living memory. Deaths tallied so far topped 17,000 in Turkey and nearly 3,500 in Syria. The World Health Organization warns a second humanitarian disaster is afoot unless the tens of thousands of homeless survivors spending their fourth night in freezing conditions can get access to shelter, food, water and medicine “very fast.”
On Thursday the World Bank pledged $1.78bn in aid to Turkey including immediate finance for rebuilding basic infrastructure and aiding the victims. But it was only on Thursday that the first UN humanitarian aid crossed into NW Syria through Idlib’s Bab al-Hawa crossing, their only gateway without crossing areas controlled by the Assad regime. Even then, the White Helmets recuse group said the UN convoy lacked the specialized equipment for digging people trapped under the rubble.