International Development Minister closely monitoring situation in Turkey and Syria following devastating earthquake

Casualties being carried to safety after the earthquake. Credit PA. (35165158)

THE International Development Minister has expressed ‘heart-break’ at the ‘devastating’ earthquake in Turkey and Syria which hit on Monday morning, leaving more than 1,000 dead.

Deputy Carolyn Labey said that they were identifying how the Island ‘could best support the relief effort’.

Jersey Overseas Aid have confirmed that their officers are in contact with humanitarian partners in the area, including the UN, and are closely monitoring the tragic events.

There have been indications that there will be a ‘significant’ loss of life following the earthquake in eastern Turkey and northern Syria, according to the JOA, with more than 1,000 reportedly killed as of this morning.

International Development Minister Carolyn Labey said: ‘The images coming back from Eastern Turkey and North Syria are truly heart-breaking. The widespread destruction and devastation, combined with extreme weather conditions, adds to what is already a chronic humanitarian situation.

‘JOA’s officers are in contact with humanitarian partners on the ground including the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As you would expect at this stage, priority is being given to emergency search and rescue teams who are searching through the rubble.’

She added: ‘We will continue to closely monitor the situation and identify how Jersey could best support the relief effort.’

The earthquakes have affected an area of approximately 400 kilometres, including industrial cities where around 12 million people live including around two million Syrian refugees, according to the JOA.

A statement by the JOA added: ‘JOA is in contact with humanitarian agencies in eastern Turkey and northern Syria following the devastating earthquakes that have hit the region this morning.

‘Health facilities have been damaged and those that are functioning are being overwhelmed.

‘Heavy snow in the entire region is further hampering the humanitarian response. The Turkish Interior Minister has issued an international assistance call.’

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