UN chief presses for more aid

UN chief presses for more aid

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is pressing the international community to provide money for Turkey and Syria and work on physical access for aid to earthquake-stricken parts of Syria.

Guterres spoke to reporters at UN headquarters Thursday, hours after a UN aid convoy crossed from Turkey into Syria’s rebel-held northwest for the first time since Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake.

“More help is on the way, but much more – much more – is needed,” the UN chief said, adding that the organization plans to launch an international appeal next week for funding for the effort. The UN has released $25 million of its own money so far.

“People are facing nightmare on top of nightmare,” the UN chief said.

Millions displaced by the Syria’s internal conflict are living in camps in the northwest of the country, where aid deliveries across the border have become a politically charged issue.

The UN Security Council in 2014 authorized aid deliveries to opposition-held parts of Syria from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan through four border crossings. But that has shrunk over the years to just one, amid opposition from Russia, a top ally of the Syrian government, which wants aid to come through its capital, Damascus.

With Syria’s parliament calling for the immediate lifting of Western-led sanctions on Syria, Guterres insisted that “no sanctions of any kind interfere with relief to the population of Syria in the present.”

Some Syrians living abroad have said on social media that online fundraising platforms have blocked their efforts to wire money to their sanctioned homeland. [AP]

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