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Foreign Affairs | Offering assistance to Turkey and Syria

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he and the Government have considered the situation in Turkey and Syria with a view to offering assistance.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 21 March, 2023.


The devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria in February have left over 50,000 dead and millions homeless.  The UN estimates that the earthquakes have affected 26 million people across both countries, including people in Northwest Syria who are already extremely vulnerable after over a decade of armed conflict.

On 10 February, the Tánaiste spoke by phone with Türkiye’s Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavusoglu. He expressed sympathy and condolences with the people of Türkiye, and outlined the immediate humanitarian assistance from Ireland. He wrote jointly with the Norwegian Foreign Minister, to the Governor of Hatay Province, one of the areas worst affected. I met with the Turkish Ambassador in Dublin and signed the book of condolence on 9 February.

The Government has provided €10 million in emergency assistance for victims of the earthquakes.  This has been channelled through Ireland’s partners already active on the ground and equipped to respond immediately, providing critical lifesaving support in the first week, and further assistance for those most in need since then.  These humanitarian partners include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Nations agencies and Irish NGOs active in the region.

Ireland has also provided over 235 tonnes of emergency supplies of tents, thermal blankets, solar lamps, hygiene kits, kitchen sets and water jerry cans, worth €1.4 million. Two members of Ireland’s Rapid Response roster have been deployed with UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams in Türkiye to assist with aid efforts.
As well as direct assistance, Ireland is responding to the emergency though our prepositioned contributions to multilateral humanitarian agencies, such as the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which responds to crises globally as they happen. The CERF has allocated a total of $50 million to provide urgent life-saving assistance to those affected by the disaster.

WE are also contributing through the EU, which has so far allocated over €15 million in humanitarian assistance to the earthquake response across both countries. At the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels yesterday, Ireland provided an update on our humanitarian response and emphasised the importance of collective EU action.
The delivery of humanitarian aid into the Northwest of Syria is dependent on cross-border deliveries from Türkiye under a UN resolution renewed following Ireland’s leadership on the UN Security Council. A UN-brokered deal with the Syrian Government since the earthquake has allowed for the use of an additional two border gates for a three-month period. Ireland has been supporting the UN to deliver aid in convoy through these routes.  The Tánaiste raised the need for full humanitarian access to those affected in his discussions with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, when they met at the Munich Security Conference on 18 February.

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