Unicef running out of trauma supplies in Syria following deadly earthquake
Follow the latest on the earthquake in Turkey
The UN is facing shortages of trauma supplies and medical kits for Syrian children rescued following Monday’s deadly earthquake in Syria and Turkey, an agency official told The National on Wednesday.
The UN’s children agency, Unicef, warned there are still children under the rubble three days after the 7.8 magnitude quake that shook the region.
Thousands of children are presumed to be alive, although an official figure is yet to be released by the agency, spokesman James Elder told The National.
“There’s been shortages of trauma supplies and medical kits from Damascus [Unicef warehouses] so we’ve been using our warehouses in Lebanon and Jordan to send emergency supplies into affected areas in Syria for operating theatres,” Mr Elder said.
Children are also in need of emergency food supplies, Mr Elder said, such as high-energy nutrition biscuits. Clean water, fuel, food, blankets and medicine are all considered high priorities.
“Clean water is so essential despite the irony that people are in the snow and need clean water. Their water system has been devastated by the quake,” he said.
The earthquake has killed over 11,000 people in Turkey and Syria and those who have survived face immense psychological trauma. The World Health Organisation issued a stark warning that the death toll could surpass 20,000.
“Challenges for children that have survived are vast, so many homes and hospitals destroyed, children and their families are enduring biting cold with thousands outside,” Mr Elder said.
From the instant the earthquake hit at 4am “children face trauma from that horrendous moment being woken up to trembling concrete and screams”, he said.
Nine hours after the first quake, another 7.5-magnitude aftershock hit Turkey and Syria, one of more than 200 aftershocks recorded since the initial disaster.
Mr Elder praised those who have been working without breaks to rescue victims.
“We have all seen those joyous scenes of a toddler or child being rescued so we salute these every day workers, rescue workers and citizens who defy the odds, the dark, the cold to find people alive,” he said.
Heartbreaking pictures and videos have been circulating on social media of a baby being born under the rubble after her parents were killed by the quake.
The birth of the baby girl took place in Jenderes, a town near the north-western city of Afrin, Syria. She was found with the umbilical cord not yet cut from her dead mother.