Turkey Quake: U.N. Aid Chief to Visit Affected Areas

The effort to provide aid to millions of people has also been strained by bitter cold, power outages and shortages of fuel, trucks and other essential supplies and by the many constraints posed by an continuing state of war and territorial division inside Syria.

The United Nations humanitarian chief said on Friday that he was on his way to visit parts of Turkey and Syria most devastated by the quake. The official, Martin Griffiths, will visit the cities of Aleppo and Damascus in Syria, along with Gaziantep in Turkey, over the weekend, according to the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres.

“More help is on the way, but much more, much more is needed,” Mr. Guterres told reporters on Thursday.

Syria, where millions have been displaced by a yearslong civil war, faces its own distinct humanitarian challenges in getting aid. But there have been a few breakthroughs.

Six humanitarian aid trucks carrying shelter material and nonfood items entered the opposition-held region of northwestern Syria on Thursday, marking the first significant delivery of help to the area since the earthquake. The International Organization for Migration said that initial shipment could meet the needs of “at least 5,000 people.”

Fourteen more trucks, laden with food and shelter materials, crossed into the opposition-held territory of northwestern Syria on Friday. But it was a small consolation to the war-ravaged enclave, home to millions of Syrians who have been displaced by more than a decade of fighting. Hundreds of thousands have already watched homes or family members vanish beneath the rubble in a matter of days.

Relief organizations say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are crucial for finding survivors. Once that window closes, as it already has in Turkey and Syria, the medical burden typically shifts from disaster sites to medical facilities, said Yasushi Nakajima, an expert on disaster risk management at Tokyo Metropolitan Hiroo Hospital in Japan.

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