The United States is sending an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid to Turkey and Syria to help the two countries cope with the devastating earthquake that has killed more than 46,000 people and left millions homeless.
The new aid brings total US assistance to $185 million and will be given to international and non-governmental groups that have been involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Turkey on Sunday to observe firsthand the devastating aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, said the new aid would help with the purchase of blankets, mattresses, food packages, warm clothing , tents, and protective materials.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken helps U.S. military personnel carry aid, at Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, Feb. 19, 2023. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Pool Photo via AP)
The aid will also support medicine and health care, efforts for clean water and sanitation, and programs that support the education of children and youth affected by the earthquake.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gestures as he sits in a helicopter with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a tour of earthquake-hit areas in Hatay province, at Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, on February 19, 2023.
Blinken took a helicopter ride through some of the earthquake devastation on Sunday with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. Blinken is expected to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
The top US diplomatic meetings in Turkey follow a visit to Washington by Cavusoglu last month. The two NATO allies have tried to mend fences over disagreements over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, plus applications by Sweden and Finland to join the alliance.
Against all odds, rescue workers have continued to pull people from the rubble of the Feb. 6 earthquake, but the country’s disaster response chief said their efforts would end on Sunday.