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7 billion euro pledge sends message that quake survivors in Turkey, Syria not alone: Swedish PM

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A pledge of 7 billion euros in assistance sends the message to people affected by devastating earthquakes in Turkey in early February that they are not alone, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said at an International Donors’ Conference in Brussels on Monday, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Donors have announced additional funds to help Turkey and Syria recover from last month’s earthquakes.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on February 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

The Donors’ Conference was co-hosted by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and by Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson.

“The needs of the survivors are still massive and must be tackled with urgency,” von der Leyen said.

The conference was attended by representatives of EU Member States, candidate countries and potential candidate countries, neighboring countries and partner countries, G20 countries (except for Russia), Gulf Cooperation Council Member States, the United Nations, international organizations, humanitarian actors, and international and European financial institutions.

The EU will provide 1 billion euros to help Turkey rebuild after last month’s earthquakes.

According to a press release from the Swedish government, Sweden announced the provision of an additional 24.3 million euros, bringing the country’s total financial support to approximately 45 million euros.

Germany said it was doubling its support for the quake victims to 240 million euros, and France promised an additional 12 million euros, Agence France-Presse reported.

‘A large amount of aid has already been delivered but the scale of need following this terrible tragedy remains enormous. Norway is now providing an additional NOK 100 million [appx. 8.8 million euros] in support for the earthquake victims,’ said Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.

This brings Norway’s total funding for the earthquake relief efforts to approximately NOK 350 million [appx 31 million euros].

According to relief organizations the impact of the earthquakes will be felt for months and years to come.

The damage in Turkey alone could amount to over $100 billion and $14.8 billion in Syria, the UN said and launched a $1 billion funding appeal to support millions of people in Turkey.

UN humanitarian agencies will need $397.6 million in funding over the next three months to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs of 4.9 million people in Syria who have been affected by the quakes, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

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