More than 4500 people have been confirmed dead by the earthquake in Syria. It is horror beyond words and the death toll is rising by the minute.
In northwest Syria, the White Helmets have worked around the clock to pull every survivor they can from under the rubble of collapsed buildings, but they’re telling us that the scale of the catastrophe requires immediate international response to provide the heavy machinery and technical expertise needed on the ground.
As of now, the UN has failed to activate a disaster response plan for northwest Syria and little international aid has reached the area. Hospitals are overwhelmed with injured people and thousands have been left without homes in the freezing winter. With every minute that passes, hopes for finding survivors diminish. The international community has the responsibility to offer more than words of solidarity and funding pledges. The UN and all governments and international organizations must act fast.
Over the past week, ordinary citizens from around the world have mobilized to fund the White Helmets’ earthquake response, helping the rescue teams save thousands of lives. But many others can be lost needlessly unless the international community acts immediately.
We need to urgently call on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to ensure that all crossing points into northwest Syria are utilized effectively and to deliver aid, equipment, and technical support on the ground immediately. Sign the petition.
More than 4 million civilians in northwest Syria were already facing a grave humanitarian crisis even before the earthquake, made worse by Russia and the Syrian regime's deliberate targeting of homes and hospitals and their restrictions on aid access. In recent years Russia has repeatedly used its veto at the UN Security Council to reduce the number of border crossings authorized to deliver UN aid to Syria from four in 2014 to just one crossing in 2020.
Many legal experts, former judges of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, and organizations like Human Rights Watch all agree that Security Council approval is not required to conduct cross-border aid operations into Syria.
Guterres has the power to activate disaster response mechanisms and dictate that international aid organizations and UN agencies use any crossing points with flexibility to deploy in northwest Syria. Will he heed the call for help, or will he turn his back on civilians in northwest Syria once again?
Sign the petition to tell Guterres: act fast to respond to the earthquake disaster in northwest Syria