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UN has raised a quarter of $1 billion Turkey earthquake funds target

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The United Nations said Friday it has so far raised a quarter of the money it needs for relief work in Turkey after earthquakes that killed more than 55,000 people, Agence France-Presse reported.

Donors have so far contributed $268 million to the $1 billion flash appeal issued by the UN following the 7.8-magnitude and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes on Feb. 6 and their aftershocks that devastated swaths of southeastern Turkey and parts of war-torn Syria.

The UN humanitarian agency’s spokesman, Jens Laerke, told reporters in Geneva that the initial emergency phase had ended.

“Now we are involved in the humanitarian emergency phase, where we look at what the survivors need,” he added.

On Feb. 16, the UN launched an appeal for $1 billion to help more than 5 million people in Turkey during the first three months after the quake.

The United States, Kuwait, the European Commission, the UN’s emergency fund CERF and Saudi Arabia are currently the top five donors.

Laerke said UN and other humanitarian agencies had reached more than 4.1 million people with basic household items and clothes.

Of those, almost 3 million have been reached with emergency food aid.

And 1.6 million have received water, sanitation and hygiene assistance.

The EU hosted a conference in Brussels earlier this month to raise money for reconstruction, the longer third phase.

Donors pledged 7 billion euros to help Turkey and Syria recover, although Ankara has set the bill for rebuilding at well over 10 times that figure.

The UN has a twin flash appeal for Syria to help survivors over the first three months, which has raised $364 million of the $398 million requested.

Some 1,177 UN relief trucks have so far entered northern Syria from Turkey.

“Since last month, we and our partners have provided shelter support, including tents, to nearly 100,000 people.

“Partners have also distributed more than 850,000 ready-to-eat food rations and over one million hot meals to people across affected areas,” Laerke said.

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