20.Mar .2023 21:00

EU pledges over $1B for reconstruction in quake-hit Türkiye

EU pledges over $1B for reconstruction in quake-hit Türkiye
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The European Commission on Monday pledged €1 billion (over $1 billion) for the reconstruction of regions hit by the massive earthquakes in Türkiye.

“I am pleased to announce that the European Commission alone will support Türkiye with €1 billion for the post-earthquake reconstruction,” Ursula von der Leyen announced at the Together for the People in Türkiye and Syria International Donors’ Conference.

The event has been co-hosted by the European Commission and the Swedish government that assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on Jan 1.

Von der Leyen called on “all nations and all donors to contribute to honor the memory of the lives lost, to honor the heroism of the first responders, and to sustain the hope of the survivors.”

“Homes, schools, and hospitals must be rebuilt with the highest standards of seismic safety, water and sanitation, and other critical infrastructure must be repaired,” she said.

Von der Leyen also stressed that the EU does not only want to help the victims of the earthquakes “to survive but to rebuild their lives.”

The EU president praised “heroic solidarity” among the people of Türkiye and the efforts of the EU rescue teams, stressing that “we owe them an overwhelming gratitude.”

She underlined that “the needs of the survivors are still massive, and must be tackled with urgency.”

Von der Leyen also announced a further package of €108 million for humanitarian assistance and early recovery in Syria.

For his part, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced that Stockholm pledges €45 million to support humanitarian or reconstruction efforts in Türkiye, and humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation in Syria.”

On Feb. 6, magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck southern Türkiye, claiming the lives of over 50,000 people.

Some 13.5 million people have been affected in 11 cities, including Kahramanmaras, Adiyaman, Hatay, and Gaziantep.

The strong tremors also rattled several neighboring countries and caused widespread destruction in northern Syria, where at least 4,500 people were killed and more than 8,700 others were injured, AA reports.