The World Health Organisation (WHO) has distributed 110 tonnes of medical supplies to areas impacted by the recent earthquakes in Syria.
UN spokesperson, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in New York.
He said WHO had been providing medical supplies and working with partners to provide specialised medical care.
He said that WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, spoke from Damascus on Sunday after he saw first-hand the devastating impact of the earthquakes and listened to the recollections of survivors.
Meanwhile, WHO, on Sunday, launched a $43 million appeal to support earthquake response in Syria and Türkiye.
The amount is set to increase as the magnitude of the disaster becomes clearer, he said, speaking during a press conference from the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Latest reports put the death toll at more than 33,000, according to international media, with millions more left homeless.
Ghebreyesus also reported that the Syrian authorities appear open to allowing more border crossings to deliver humanitarian aid in the northwest.
War-ravaged Syria is divided into areas under the control of the government, opposition forces and armed groups.
The UN health agency is also scaling up operations across the country, including the northwest where the impact is even worse.
More than 4,300 deaths and 7,600 injuries have been reported there, according to the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA.
Prior to the earthquake, 4.1 million people were already depending on humanitarian aid and needs were at an all-time high.
The WHO chief stressed the need to take response “to the next level” to reach all populations who required support.
He welcomed the decision by the US to ease sanctions against Syria in the wake of the tragedy.
“We equally appreciate the recent blanket approval by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic for the UN for cross-line convoys, as well as measures to increase cross-border access. We hope this continues,” he said.
The WHO chief reported that he had met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier on Sunday afternoon “who indicated he was open to considering additional cross-border access points for this emergency.”
Ghebreyesus said he was waiting to move across conflict lines to northwest Syria.
“We’re on standby actually. We can move anytime now through the coastline to the northwest.
“Based on the blanket permit, we have already permission from this side. We’re waiting now to hear from the other side. As soon as we get that we will cross to the northwest.”
After the earthquakes struck, the health agency immediately accessed its pre-positioned supplies in the northwest and Aleppo thus making treatment of major injuries possible. Its staff also began distribution of supplies to health facilities.
Ghebreyesus arrived in Syria on Saturday, where WHO and partners had so far distributed 110 tonnes of medical supplies to affected areas across the country.
The earthquake is the latest crisis to hit Syria, following the ongoing conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, cholera outbreaks and economic decline. (NAN)