United Nations: We are close to the end of the rescue phase

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The United Nations Emergency Relief Commissioner, Martin Griffiths, announced Saturday that rescue operations are “coming to a close” in the ten Turkish provinces affected by the devastating earthquake.

During a visit to Kahramanmaraş, he said, “We are close to the end of the rescue phase, after which comes the recovery phase and the start of reconstruction and planning for houses, apartments and buildings to be rebuilt.”

He pointed out that the recovery phase from the effects of the devastating earthquake “will depend mainly on humanitarian aid,” noting that the Turkish government “will lead the process of rebuilding the destroyed homes.”

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He added, “In the phase of disaster recovery, the humanitarian community plays a big role, and that is why we will launch an appeal to raise funds to provide funding for the relevant agencies and help the people in distress.”

Griffiths stated that the United Nations will direct its efforts towards humanitarian assistance during the period when people are forced to live in temporary housing.

In the context, the UN official stressed that the second phase, after natural disasters, “may be more worrisome not only in Turkey, but also in affected Syria, where the surviving victims will need assistance in their livelihoods and on how to obtain food and medicine.”

He continued, “We are very concerned, as you know, about the second phase of a natural disaster of this magnitude, and the matter is often related to the health situation, as we have great concerns here (Turkey) and in Syria about the health problems that will be dealt with.”