The terrible earthquake in Turkey that killed thousands of people and left millions more in need of relief prompted the UN to launch a $1 billion appeal on Thursday.

According to a statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 5.2 million people will get humanitarian help from the funds for a period of three months.

Included in the areas of food security, protection, education, water, and housing, the money would “enable relief groups to swiftly scale up crucial assistance,” he said.

There is no time to waste because of the immense demands and suffering of the population, Guterres said.

In reaction to one of the worst natural catastrophes in modern history, “I urge the world community to step up and fully finance this crucial endeavour.”

More than 35,000 people have died in southeast Turkey as a result of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred on February 6; thousands more people have died in Syria on the other side of the border.

According to Ankara, the tragedy has had a direct effect on more than nine million people in Turkey.

There include many Syrian refugees. According to UN statistics, 1.74 million Syrians are residing in the 11 regions of Turkey that were affected by the earthquake under temporary refugee protection status.

According to Guterres’ statement, Turkey is “home to the biggest number of refugees in the world and has shown extraordinary kindness to its Syrian neighbours for years.”

“It is the moment for the world to stand in solidarity with the Turkish people, just as they have done with others who are in need of help,”

Martin Griffiths, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, described the suffering endured by the Turkish people as “unspeakable anguish” in a separate statement announcing the flash appeal.

Griffiths, who oversees the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said, “We must stand with them in their hour of need and make sure they get the care they need.”

In its statement, OCHA noted that hundreds of thousands of people—including young children and the elderly—suffer in subfreezing conditions without access to heating, food, water, or shelter.

Over 47,000 structures in Turkey have been damaged or destroyed, it was stated, and thousands of people have sought safety in makeshift shelters.

According to OCHA, the UN is supplying the impacted districts with hot meals, food, tents, warm winter apparel, blankets, beds, cooking sets, and medical equipment.

The international organisation launched a $397 million appeal on Tuesday to aid earthquake victims in Syria.

Earlier, the UN allocated $50 million from its core emergency response fund to aid with relief operations.

With regard to its role, the “heart-breaking” destruction in Turkey and Syria, the world’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal stated on Thursday that it has contributed $5 million to aid earthquake victims via the Disasters Emergency Committee and Doctors Without Borders.

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