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Syrian rescuers are racing against time. Why isn’t the world helping them?


Syrian men gather by a destroyed building at a flooded area, after the collapse of a dam near al-Tulul village in Salqin, in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, near the border with Turkey, on February 9th following a deadly earthquake. [Abdulaziz Ketaz | AFP via Getty]

The deadly earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria in the early hours of Monday morning – along the border of those two countries – has mobilised governments and humanitarian agencies worldwide to respond.


But all week, politics – not need – has dictated aid delivery, with life-saving help arriving in Turkey from around the world within hours, while it took until Thursday for the first UN aid convoy to reach northwestern Syria through Bab al-Hawa border crossing – the UN managed border crossing between the two countries.


In northwest Syria it has mostly been left to local White Helmet volunteers to try to provide emergency assistance. In the News speaks to White Helmet volunteer Ismail Abdullah who has been rescuing survivors and collecting the dead from collapsed buildings all week; and to Natasha Hall, senior fellow in the Middle East programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC who explains why, in this already devastated region, delivering aid was never going to be simply about need, and what should happen next.


Presenter: Bernice Harrison. Producer: Declan Conlon.

 

(c) 2023, The Irish Times

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