Cologne/Gaziantep. While international aid workers have arrived in Türkiye and are helping with rescue activities and the distribution of relief supplies, the situation in Syria remains highly precarious. "We are trying to provide aid for the people who survived and are now enduring in the cold. We haven't had electricity since Monday, it's only slowly coming back, everything is somehow scarce - it's extremely difficult," reports Hassan Alam, who works for Malteser International's Syrian partner organization Hand in Hand for Aid and Development in northwestern Syria.
Particularly traumatic for the Syrian aid workers: "People were calling for help, we could hear them but couldn't get through to them. We have no equipment, no machines and had to dig with our own hands - it was very, very bad," says Hassan Alam. "We hope more aid will come, including heavy equipment."
Relief deliveries across the Turkish-Syrian border are currently progressing slowly, and the processing through the only open border crossing with Türkiye at Bab Al-Hawa runs sluggishly. This is due to delays caused by damage to transport infrastructure in the Hatay region and staff shortages at the border. "We hope that more border crossings will be opened for relief supplies and that more aid can reach the region," says Oliver Hochedez, who coordinates Malteser International's emergency relief efforts for Türkiye and Syria from the Turkish border town of Kilis. "Our Syrian partner organizations have received financial assistance from us to purchase goods available on the Syrian market, such as food and blankets, and to distribute them quickly."
Malteser International is currently supporting six hospitals, a maternity clinic with children's hospital, and eight primary health care units in the Idlib and north Aleppo regions of northwestern Syria. The aid projects in the Syrian border region are managed from Türkiye. Relief supplies are distributed through local partner organizations. Malteser Intrenational has been involved with the region through humanitarian work for several years.
Oliver Hochedez, Head of the Emergency Department at Malteser International and Katharina Kiecol, Press Officer Malteser International, are available for interviews and sound bites in Kilis.
Operator: +49 (0)221 9822-7180, kathrin.muenker(at)malteser-international.org