U.S. Assistance to Emergency Earthquake Response Efforts in Türkiye and Syria
September 9, 2023
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
The February 6th earthquakes that struck southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria have devastated millions. Within hours of the first quake, the United States, at the direction of President Biden, quickly mobilized federal agencies and partners to urgently provide life-saving assistance in close coordination with our Turkish Allies and partner organizations in Syria.
Since Monday, supplementing the excellent work of our Embassy and Consulate teams, hundreds of additional U.S. personnel have arrived in the region to help save lives and assist those in need. Today we announced $85 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to support these efforts. USAID’s Disaster Assistance and Response Team is already hard at work in southern Türkiye. Two of our most highly trained Urban Search and Rescue Teams are conducting operations in support of Turkish rescue efforts in Adiyaman, one of the hardest hit areas. These teams have specialized equipment and canines for search and rescue operations. Joining them are emergency managers, hazardous materials technicians, engineers, logisticians, paramedics, and planners.
Our existing humanitarian partners in both Türkiye and Syria are providing critical emergency relief, including food, water, shelter, medical care, and support staff for search and rescue efforts. U.S. helicopters are conducting airlift operations, transporting rescue personnel to sites where they are needed most.
We are grateful to the Government of Türkiye for re-opening the border so aid can flow into northwest Syria, and we welcome news today of the first UN aid convoy arriving via the Bab al-Hawa crossing. We call on the Assad regime to immediately allow aid in through all border crossings; allow the distribution of aid to all affected areas; and to let humanitarians access all people in Syria who are in need, without exception.
In both Türkiye and Syria, the United States will remain committed to doing whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to provide necessary assistance to those impacted by these earthquakes. The United States will continue to support the people of Türkiye and Syria, and we welcome and encourage support from our international partners in this time of great need.