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Hi, this is Michelle. As the death toll from the two earthquakes in Syria and Turkey surpasses 31,000 victims, we’re hearing about the blow being dealt to the health system in northwestern Syria that was already reeling from years of conflict.

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Michelle Langrand


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Tents set up for families who lost their homes from the earthquakes in Harem, Idlib province, Syria, 11 February, 2023. (Keystone/AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)

Northwestern Syria’s health system at risk of collapse. As rescuers continued to look through the rubble for survivors, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Sunday that the earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey last week could tip the health system in rebel-controlled northwestern Syria over the edge. While damage from the earthquake to health facilities and other infrastructure has yet to be assessed, 12 years of conflict have left the region’s health system in a dire state. The Syrian government had been blocking access to opposition-held areas, hindering aid delivery. Recognising the failure to provide relief, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Sunday people “rightly feel abandoned”. The Syrian government has agreed to allow UN convoys to travel through conflict lines, according to the WHO, which is waiting for approval from rebel-held areas.

Devex (EN)

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