(MENAFN) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a flash appeal for $84.5 million in response to the health needs of those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The UN agency estimates that around 26 million survivors are at risk across the disaster area, of whom about five million are considered vulnerable, with 1.4 million of them children.
Essential health services have been severely disrupted, the WHO has warned, thereby increasing the risk of COVID-19, other respiratory infections, cholera and other waterborne diseases, measles, and chronic/non-communicable diseases. Emergency medical services are overwhelmed with trauma patients, and the WHO expects casualties and injuries to increase.
The health consequences of this disaster are unprecedented in both Turkey and Syria, and will last well beyond the initial phase of the emergency. The WHO has identified mental health and psychosocial support services, as well as continued access to sexual, reproductive, and maternal health care, antenatal care, child health, and assistance to people with disabilities, as top priorities in the flash appeal.
The WHO has been responding to the earthquakes since they hit, but the tragedy is only going to get worse, the agency has warned. The flash appeal outlines the health situation in the two countries following the humanitarian disaster, the main threats to health, the WHO response since the earthquakes hit, and priorities for addressing the health impacts in both countries.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the health needs of those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria are even more urgent. The WHO's appeal for $84.5 million is a reminder that we must continue to support those affected by disasters and crises, no matter where they are in the world.
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