More than 500,000 people in Syria were made homeless due to the 6 February earthquakes.
Qatar has extended a helping hand to Syria’s Civil Defence, widely known as the White Helmets, under a new financial agreement that backs the humanitarian entity’s operation in crisis-hit northwest Syria.
On Wednesday, the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), together with the United States Agency for International Development, announced a new agreement with the White Helmets.
“QFFD and USAID have signed a funding agreement to support the White Helmets’ core operations to ensure the continuation of life-saving services in northwest Syria,” the Qatari entity said on Twitter.
The latest agreement comes a month after QFFD stepped in to support the White Helmets in the aftermath of the tragic 6 February earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey.
The earthquakes, the worst to strike the region in a century, killed at least 50,000 people in both countries while displacing hundreds of thousands.
According to the United Nations, more than 500,000 people in Syria were made homeless due to the catastrophe, with the northern region of the crisis-laden country being the hardest hit by the quakes.
QFFD supported the Syrian team during arduous rescue operations while providing them with much-needed logistic supplies to back their response to the crisis.
On 14 March, QFFD announced that its earthquake aid to Turkey and Syria reached QR 201.8 million.
Need for humanitarian aid
Aid delivery to northern Syria was hindered due to the destruction caused by the earthquake as well as the Syrian Bashar Al Assad regime.
An estimated 583 aid trucks were able to cross to northwest Syria through the Bab Al-Hawa, Bab Al Salameh and Al Ra’ee border crossings after the earthquakes struck.
According to the World Bank, Aleppo province was the hardest hit by the earthquakes where 60% of damages were reported, followed by Idlib and Latakia.
The earthquake exacerbated the suffering of Syrians following more than a decade of war. The quakes contributed to the challenges of the medical sector in non-regime held areas, which were barely able to keep pace with the large number of casualties and injuries.
A total of 55 health facilities in the affected areas were either fully or partially damaged due to the earthquakes.
For 12 years, Syria has been ravaged by conflict and instability under the Assad regime.
The Gulf state has long called for a political resolution in Syria while refusing to normalise with the Assad regime.
The Syrian regime caused a major refugee crisis, with millions of Syrians unable to return home in fear of torture, forced disappearance or detainment.
According to the UN, there are at least 5,424,773 registered refugees scattered in neighbouring countries.