Greece is "immediately" sending humanitarian aid to Syria

Greek rescue crew going to turkey greece

Greece is sending a humanitarian aid mission in Syria, which is preparing to leave immediately. Only a short while ago the relevant request to the European Civil Protection Mechanism was activated by Damascus.

According to information from the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection - in response to some criticisms that have been made regarding the fact that aid was sent to Turkey and not to Syria - Greece had already started preparations yesterday for the organisation of the mission in Syria.

However, as clarified, Greece  could not proceed with this move as it is necessary to activate the request for assistance from the country affected by the disaster.

As noted by an agent of the Ministry on the specific issue in AMNA, the European Civil Protection Mechanism is the channel through which EU member states can channel humanitarian aid in a coordinated and efficient manner to affected areas.

After the submission of the request by Syria, Greece is proceeding at a fast pace in sending aid, in cooperation and coordination with our European partners.

The aid consists of sending medicines, tents and general supplies for the support and care of people who have been left homeless and need immediate assistance, according to the request activated by Syria.

Syria has activated the EU civil protection mechanism two days after the earthquake, the European Commission’s head of crisis management Janez Lenarcic said on Wednesday.

“Earlier today, this morning, we have received a request from the government of Syria for assistance through the civil protection mechanism,” Reuters reports Lenarcic told the media.

Lenarcic said member states are encouraged to contribute with assistance as requested.

In October 2001, the European Commission established the EU civil protection mechanism. When an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country in Europe and beyond, it can request assistance from the programme.

In addition to the 27 EU member states, there are currently eight other participating states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey). The European Commission’s website say that since its inception, the mechanism has responded to over 600 requests for assistance inside and outside the EU.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that the death toll from Monday’s quake has reached 8,754. Combined with the 2,470 known deaths in Syria, that brings the total official death toll to 11,224.

The World Health Organization has suggested the final toll could rise as high as 20,000. A similar-sized earthquake in the region in 1999 killed at least 17,000 people.

Reuters reports that, speaking to reporters in the Kahramanmaraş province near the epicentre of the earthquake, with constant ambulance sirens in the background, Erdoğan said there had been problems with roads and airports but that everything would get better by the day.

He also said citizens should only heed communication from authorities and ignore “provocateurs,” as thousands of people complain about the lack of resources and slow response by officials. Turkish police have detained several people over their social media posts about the earthquake.

A container blaze at Turkey’s southern port of Iskenderun has been brought under control, Turkey’s maritime authority said on Wednesday, following combined extinguishing efforts from land, sea and air.

Operations at the port were shut down until further notice after a fire broke out due to the earthquakes that hit the region on Monday, and freighters were diverted to other ports.

READ MORE: Uzay Bulut: Turkish government shows it hates Cyprus more than it loves its own citizens by rejecting humanitarian assistance.