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WFP Seeks Aid for Turkey-Syria Quake Survivors

A rescue worker looks around in Adiyaman, southern Turkey, Monday, Feb. 13, 2023

The United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) appealed on Friday for $77 million to provide food rations and hot meals for 874,000 people affected by the deadly earthquake in Syria and Turkey.

The number in need of aid "includes 284,000 newly displaced people in Syria and 590,000 people in Turkey, which includes 45,000 refugees and 545,000 internally displaced people," the Rome-based organization said in a statement.

The death toll from Monday's devastating earthquake has passed 35,000, making it the region's worst earthquake in nearly a century.

The Turkish toll now exceeds the 31,643 killed in a quake in 1939, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said, making it the worst quake in Turkey's modern history.

The total death toll in Syria, a nation ravaged by more than a decade of civil war, has reached 5,714, including those who died in a rebel enclave and government-held areas.

The WFP said it had delivered food assistance to 115,000 people in Turkey and Syria in the past four days.

"We're providing mainly hot meals, ready-to-eat food rations and family food packages -- things that require no cooking facilities and can be consumed immediately," said Corinne Fleischer, the WFP's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"For the thousands of people affected by the earthquakes, food is one of the top needs right now and our priority is to get it to the people who need it fast."

Getting aid into conflict-ravaged Syria has been particularly difficult, but the WFP said it had reached a total of 43,000 people there.

Thanks to stocks already inside the country, it said it had enough ready-to-eat rations there for 100,000 people, and other rations, which require cooking facilities, for 1.4 million people for one month.

Some information in the report came from Reuters.