Washington DC, 10 February 2023 (TDI): The United States (US) has announced $85 million in assistance for emergency relief after a devastating earthquake hit Turkiye and Syria.

The announcement came on Thursday after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

While describing the call, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said, “We are proud to join the global efforts to help Turkiye. Turkiye has so often contributed its own humanitarian rescue experts to so many other countries in the past.”

Also read: UN provides emergency relief to Turkiye, Syria following devastating Earthquake

The US Agency for International Development said that the funding will go to the partners on the ground to deliver urgently needed aid to people. The aid will be used for food, shelter, and emergency health services.

Additionally, the funding will support safe drinking water and sanitation to prevent the outbreak of disease.

The United States has already sent hundreds of additional US personnel, which have arrived in the region to help with the humanitarian crisis and search and rescue operations.

Earlier, the US sent Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters to transfer supplies as the roads and bridges were damaged by the heavy earthquake.

Humanitarian assistance for Syria

The US has sent assistance in Syria through local partners. The Treasury Department announced a temporary lifting of some Syria-related sanctions, hoping to ensure that aid moves as quickly as possible to those affected.

In this vein, Ned Price said, “We call on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to immediately allow aid in through all border crossings and to let humanitarians access all Syrians in need without exceptions.”

An aid convoy on Thursday reached northwestern Syria for the first time since the earthquake, going through the only open border crossing, Bab al-Hawa on the Turkish side.

It is pertinent to note that Russia, the key international backer of Bashar al-Assad, has wielded its veto power at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to stop other crossings except for Bab al-Hawa.