A campaign to collect humanitarian aid for those affected by the deadly earthquake in Syria and Turkey is underway in Cyprus on Thursday and Friday. The campaign is carried out by the Office of the Citizen's Commissioner in collaboration with the Civil Defence of Cyprus.
The entire effort is made in collaboration with all the competent State Services and is supported by Local Government Bodies and local organisations. People are urged to bring:
-Dry food (canned food, cereals, nuts, cookies, flour, spaghetti, baby milk powder/baby food)
-Sleeping bags and underlays
-Winter clothes and shoes
-Personal hygiene items
-Diapers for children and adults
A warm request to those who wish to contribute to the entire effort to limit themselves to what is included in the above list.
Those interested can present the items at specific points published by the Press and Information Service.
At the same time, a group of Greek doctors will go to the earthquake affected regions of Turkey and Syria.
According to the Federation of Associations of Hospital Doctors of Greece (OENGE), which appealed to its members to join the residents of the two countries, dozens of doctors said they were ready to go to the affected areas.
OENGE is in constant communication with the Ministry of Health to coordinate the necessary actions for the transition to the affected areas, as well as with the presidency of the Medical Association of Turkey.
According to the latest information from the Ministry of Health, the relevant requests have been submitted and a response is expected from the competent authorities of Turkey for a safe transition, as well as the formation of appropriate infrastructures for the reception of the medical mission.
Given that these are hospital doctors, OENGE asks the Ministry of Health to grant a special permit that will not be counted as normal to those who will participate in the medical mission and that all the necessary facilities be provided by the administrations of the hospitals and the Health and Human Services.
Also, the time participating in the mission of the specialist doctors should be counted as specialist time.
Finally, OENGE requests that all the necessary actions be taken immediately in order to remove the legal obstacles for sending the blood collected from the voluntary blood donations organised by the unions and mass organisations.
Turkey’s death toll has risen to 12,873 overnight, from 12,391 late on Wednesday, the country’s disaster agency said. The most recent figure from Syria stands at 2,992.
This brings the overall number of dead to 15,865.
“Generally, earthquakes do not kill people, collapsing infrastructure kills people,” said Kelman, who has published research on quake rescue responses.
The most pressing factor is getting medical attention to people crushed under collapsed buildings before “their bodies fail” or they bleed out, he said.
Weather is also a key factor, and “it is completely against us” in Turkey and Syria, Kelman said. The quake-hit regions have suffered through freezing temperatures as well as rain and snow since Monday.
“This very sadly means that hypothermia is possible, and people are probably unfortunately perishing due to the weather,” Kelman said.
Those who do manage to survive the cold and their injuries still need food and water. Without water, many people “will start dying at the three, four, five day mark,” Kelman said.
Meanwhile, the first convoy of humanitarian assistance for north-west Syria, where the impact of 11 years of civil war on healthcare, emergency services and infrastructure is hugely complicating relief efforts, is en route to the southern Turkish border with the hope of crossing into Syria later on Thursday, two aid sources have told Reuters.
READ MORE: Greece to send five planes with humanitarian aid to Turkey - Here's how you can help.