Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: “The number one priority is to provide drinking water”, launches the director general of Unicef ​​France

“In this type of disaster, the number one priority is to provide drinking water”, estimates Tuesday, February 7 on France Inter Ann Avril, director general of Unicef ​​France, after the violent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which killed more than 4,300 people. She explains that drinking water “is the only way to avoid a second catastrophe, that is to say that [les rescapés] die of thirst or diseases spread”.

>>> Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: follow the evolution of the situation live

Children ‘trapped in their sleep’

In collaboration with local authorities, Unicef ​​is often “forced to haul drinking water from other regions”, before “purify water using purification tablets”, says Ann Avril. The Director General of Unicef ​​France therefore calls for the solidarity of the French: “five euros can purify 1,500 liters of drinking water, so small donations can go a long way in providing drinking water to children”. According to Ann Avril, it is precisely necessary to favor monetary donations, and not donations of plaid, duvets or other material, because sending material would be “logistically difficult“.

“It was a region already so devastated that there was already relief material, but it will never be enough in terms of needs”

Ann Avril, Director General of Unicef ​​France

at France Inter

Even before the earthquakes, she estimates that there were in northern Syria “2.5 million people dependent on humanitarian aid out of the 4 million inhabitants”, as well as “huge refugee camps in Turkey, on the border region with Syria”. On the spot, the populations were already “extremely fragile” by the “ten years of war, violence and exile”. These earthquakes therefore aggravate their situation. Humanitarian organizations have “really a lot of work” and have “need for everyone’s solidarity”insists Ann Avril.

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In addition to drinking water, Unicef ​​France helps people “in the second curtain” : its staff “try to put [les rescapés] sheltered, to provide them with a safe place to find respite and rest”. Ann Avril particularly fears “extreme climatic conditions”. “It’s very cold, it’s raining so we try if possible to put them in the least precarious conditions possible”, she adds.

Unicef ​​France will then put “in place psychological cells for children, especially those who have lost a loved one”. Ann Avril thus highlights the risks of trauma: “These children have been trapped in their sleep, entire families who were sleeping in deep sleep have been buried, it’s a living nightmare.”

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