Canada ready to help after earthquake in Turkey and Syria, says Justin Trudeau

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Canada ready to help after earthquake in Turkey and Syria, says Justin Trudeau

Hundreds of houses and buildings collapsed under the force of the earthquake which shook the south- eastern Turkey and Syria, trapping thousands in rubble.

Canada stands ready to provide aid following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that killed more than 3,000 people in Turkey and Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday .

Authorities feared the death toll would rise as rescue workers and residents searched the rubble of buildings for survivors.

Mr. Trudeau spoke about terrible news and images from Turkey and Syria.

“Canada stands ready to offer assistance. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these major earthquakes, and our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones.

—Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, in a written statement

The United States Geological Authority measured Monday's quake at 7.8, with a depth of 18 kilometers. A few hours later, a magnitude 7.5 quake struck more than 100 kilometers away.

The second tremor was considered an aftershock because it occurred on the same fault line as the first, according to a U.S. Geological Authority seismologist.

Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to requests from The Canadian Press to find out if any Canadians have been affected.

My thoughts are with the bereaved families following this tragic event, Quebec Minister of International Relations Martine Biron said on Twitter.

The earthquake, which centered on the province of Kahramanmaras in southeastern Turkey has worsened the humanitarian situation in a region shaped on both sides of the border by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.

Thousands of buildings are reported to have collapsed in a wide area stretching from the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama to Diyarbakir in Turkey, more than 330 kilometers to the northeast.

A man carries the body of an earthquake victim in the village of Besnia near the Turkish border, in Syria, Monday, February 6, 2023.

Conservatives will support the efforts of Canadians and the government to help them, Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic MP Michael Chong said in a Twitter post.

New Democratic Party Foreign Affairs Critic, MP Heather McPherson, urged the federal government to send immediate humanitarian aid. The crisis in Syria was already underfunded, she claimed on Twitter, and many Syrians were waiting to be resettled.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves -François Blanchet, wrote on his Twitter account that it is much more the people than their leaders who are crumbling under the weight of disasters.

The women and men of Syria and Turkey are grappling with painful grief and dramatic devastation. I send them our best wishes for courage, wrote Mr. Blanchet.

The earthquake-affected region of Turkey lies above major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Some 18,000 people were killed in equally powerful earthquakes that struck northwestern Turkey in 1999.

Moutaz Adham, the country director of Oxfam Canada for Syria, said the number of people killed and injured by the earthquake in Syria is growing rapidly.

We see families looking for their missing loved ones who [are] under the rubble of collapsed buildings. We know that people, even those whose buildings have not collapsed, do not feel safe to return there, he said in a telephone interview from Damascus.

“The earthquake adds to a very serious humanitarian situation in Syria. »

— Moutaz Adham, Oxfam Canada Country Director for Syria

Mr. Adham said there was a need for financial support to help respond to the situation, noting that the earthquake also happened during a harsh winter which could complicate relief efforts.

Majd Khalaf, a Montreal coordinator for the White Helmets — a Syrian civil defense organization — said many of the buildings that collapsed had already been damaged during the ongoing war, making them more vulnerable to the earthquake. p>

Two men walk past a heavily damaged building in the town of Zardana in the northwestern province of Idlib of Syria.

“Our teams are currently responding. They dig in the rubble to save lives. It really is a huge disaster.

—Majd Khalaf, White Helmets Coordinator

Large areas of northwestern Syria have lost electricity and internet connections due to the earthquake , added Mr. Khalaf.

He said his organization called on the international community for immediate support with materials to help with the rescue efforts.

There are four million refugees [in Syria] near the Turkish border, which complicates the actions of the White Helmets to evacuate, intervene, he said. They live in camps in terrible conditions, especially in winter.

The United Nations estimates that some 6.9 million people are displaced inside Syria in reason for the war.