Canada sending another $30M in aid to Turkiye, Syria, as rebuild begins

Ottawa –

The federal government has sent an additional $20 million in aid to those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria, matching millions more with private donations.

In addition to a matching donation of $10 million to the Canadian Red Cross, Canada will make a matching donation of $10 million to members of the Humanitarian Coalition, said Minister for International Development Harjit Sajan.

The announcement comes after the United Nations called for more help and a group of Canadian parliamentarians urged the government to expand donation matching to more organizations.

A humanitarian coalition of members Oxfam, Plan International and World Vision is providing emergency food, water, sanitation and medical services.

Two large earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks hit the region on February 6, damaging tens of thousands of buildings and killing more than 47,000 people.

More than one million people are staying in temporary accommodation such as gyms, stadiums, hotels and dormitories with limited access to essential services, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

“Children and their families who survived the earthquake are now facing homelessness, food and water shortages, and temperatures that regularly drop below freezing at night.

Turkish authorities said on Friday that preparatory work had begun on building houses for those displaced by the devastating earthquake.

Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kulm tweeted that excavations were underway in the towns of Nurdagi and Islahiye in Gaziantep province and that the government would initially build 855 houses. Stated.

The work was done less than three weeks after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck. Turkish authorities say about 173,000 buildings, including about 534,000 apartments or other units, were destroyed or severely damaged in the earthquake.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces tough elections in May or June, has promised to rebuild homes by the end of the year, but critics say moving too quickly could lead to substandard housing construction. I warn you that it is possible.

Opposition parties have also blamed the extent of the disaster on the Erdogan government, which has been in power for the past two decades, for failing to enforce building regulations.

Experts said many of the collapsed buildings were constructed with poor materials and methods and often did not comply with government standards.

Earlier on Friday, President Erdogan issued a decree allowing individuals, businesses or organizations to build homes and offices and donate them to the province of Qurum.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said late Thursday that 583 contractors or other people suspected of being responsible for the collapsed building were being investigated and 171 had been arrested.

This report by Canadian Press was first published on February 24, 2023. Use file from AP

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