Dendias speaks with Patriarch of Antioch on the "needs" in the quake affected areas

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias Patriarch of Antioch Ioannis

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Tuesday spoke on the phone with the Patriarch of Antioch Ioannis in the wake of last week's earthquake that devastated southeastern Turkey and northern Sydney.

According to a foreign ministry tweet, they focused on "needs assessment in the affected areas of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Patriarchate and on Greece's contribution to address them."

Death toll from earthquakes goes past 37,000. Turkish authorities say 31,974 people have been killed in the country, while more than 5,800 people are dead in Syria, according to the UN and the Syrian government.

The World Health Organization’s director for Europe, which includes Turkey, says the February 6 earthquakes were the “worst natural disaster” in 100 years in the region.

“We are witnessing the worst natural disaster in the WHO European region for a century and we are still learning about its magnitude,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told a news conference.

Syria is a member of the WHO’s neighbouring Eastern Mediterranean region.

More than seven million children have been affected by the massive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, UNICEF says, voicing fear that “many thousands” more had died.

“While the total number of children affected remains unclear, 4.6 million children live in the 10 provinces of Türkiye hit by the earthquakes, and more than 2.5 million children are affected in Syria,” read a UNICEF report.

“Many families have lost their homes and are now living in temporary shelters, often in freezing conditions and with snow and rain adding to their suffering,” it added.

Access to safe water and sanitation is also a serious concern, as are the health needs of the affected population.

More than 8,000 people have been pulled out alive from rubble in Turkey, President Erdogan said, expressing his gratitude to all countries that came forward to provide support after the twin deadly earthquakes.

He also said a large number of more than 81,000 people injured in the earthquakes have been discharged from hospitals, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“I would like to thank once again all the friendly and sisterly countries that have been collecting aid for our nation day and night, supporting our search and rescue efforts with their teams, and not forgetting us in their prayers,” Erdogan added.

Turkey will never forget “the friendship you showed on this dark day”, he said.

READ MORE: Earthquake Diplomacy? Turkey violated Greece's airspace 24 times while Çavuşoğlu and Dendias hugged.

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