The European Union Commission and the Swedish government, the term president of the EU, have announced that they will organize a donors’ conference to mobilize funds and assistance from the international community for Türkiye and Syria that are severely hit by two major earthquakes on Feb. 6.
The announcement was made by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, late on Feb. 8. It said the event would be hosted in March in Brussels.
The Donors’ Conference will help mobilize the international community to deal with the aftermath of this week’s devastating earthquakes, read the announcement, informing that the high-level conference will be open to EU Member States, neighboring countries, U.N. members, international financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders, is to coordinate the donors’ response and raise resources in support of the early recovery and relief in the affected areas of Türkiye and Syria.
The conference will be chaired jointly by Commissioner in charge of Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Olivér Várhelyi, and the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Johan Forssell.
“We are all shaken by the devastating effects of the earthquakes that have hit Türkiye and Syria this week. The priority now is to work around the clock to save as many lives as possible as many people are still trapped under the rubble, in buildings,” von der Leyen said in her statement, adding EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism has already sent 31 search and rescue teams and five medical teams from 23 countries.
“But we are already sending a message now to the people of Türkiye and Syria: The EU will support your communities. Because no one should be left alone when a tragedy like this hits a people,” noted the President of the European Commission.
Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson, for his part, stressed that the earthquake in Türkiye and northern Syria is a disaster without recent precedent, adding “The extent of the loss of life and physical damage is becoming clearer by the day. The consequences are truly horrendous. As President of the Council of the European Union, Sweden wants to ensure that the EU’s assistance is adequate to meet the need of the Turkish and Syrian people in this terrible time.”
EU Commissioner due in Gaziantep
In the meantime, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic is scheduled to pay a visit to Gaziantep late on Feb. 9 as part of the coordination of the EU response to the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
Türkiye made a request from the EU only one-and-half-hours after the first earthquake and the first team from the EU arrived in Türkiye 12 hours after the request was made.
Spain is sending 4 ships to Türkiye
The Spanish Embassy to Ankara announced that Spain is sending four ships to Türkiye to support the rescue teams, establish a medical center and meet the needs in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
These ships include Juan Carlos aircraft carrier, Galicia cargo ship, Cantabria logistic ship and Blas de Lezo frigate, it said.