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€8 million in emergency humanitarian assistance for victims of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, T.D., has today announced an additional €8 million in emergency assistance for the people of Türkiye and Syria following the devastating earthquakes which struck the region last week. This will bring the total direct Irish response to €10 million.

This overall allocation of €10 million is in direct response to the emergency appeal for funding from the Government of Türkiye and aid agencies working in Türkiye and Northwest Syria. The total package will support immediate and urgent humanitarian needs on the ground. The funds will be allocated to Ireland’s key partners including the United Nations Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Irish Non-Governmental Organisations working on the ground. The focus will be on the provision of cash assistance, emergency non-food items and shelter.

The response will also include Ireland’s largest ever deployment of emergency stocks under the Rapid Response Initiative. These emergency stocks are pre-positioned in Dubai and Brindisi, and consist of blankets, tents, solar lamps, hygiene kits, kitchen sets and emergency shelter kits. The first shipment will arrive in Türkiye this week. Distribution will be in coordination with Concern, Goal and local partners to reach those most in need.

Announcing the additional funding, the Tánaiste said:

‘‘The ever increasing death toll in Türkiye and Syria is difficult to fully comprehend. Tens of thousands have lost their lives and many more are now facing displacement and harsh winter conditions in the most difficult of circumstances. To assist with the emergency humanitarian response efforts, I have today made an additional allocation of €8 million, on top of the €2 million allocated last Monday, to address the most urgent and immediate needs of those affected.”

The Tánaiste added:

“During Ireland’s term on the Security Council, Ireland and Norway successfully led negotiations on the renewal of the vital Syria Humanitarian cross-border resolution, which ensured the continuation of the UN’s cross-border aid operation at Bab al-Hawa, on the Turkey-Syria border. In July last year, we secured renewal of the resolution despite the particularly challenging political dynamics, extending the operation’s mandate. We also worked hard in the last days of our membership of the Council to secure a further renewal in January of this year, which was achieved."

“Any means of ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches the people in need, including cross-line missions, needs to be intensified. We urge the Security Council to mandate the opening of all relevant border crossings to allow for the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid.”

Minister of State for International Development and the Diaspora, Seán Fleming T.D., added:

“With over 33,000 people confirmed dead, many injured and sadly more fatalities expected, urgent lifesaving humanitarian aid is required to support survivors. This funding from Ireland will save lives and provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable people across the region. Through our long standing support of agencies we work with, Ireland has been able to assist from day one of this disaster. Ireland’s help is reaching many thousands of people who have been left homeless by this disaster, providing them with shelter and other vital aid. It is important that the people of Türkiye and Syria know that Ireland stands with them during this awful time.”

Ireland also provides pre-positioned funds to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). These funds react immediately and at scale when disasters happen. Ireland’s contribution to the CERF for 2023 amounts to €12.5 million while we have provided more than €1 million annually to the DREF for the past four years. The EU has also announced that it will provide significant support to those affected across the region.

Notes to editors

  • Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for international development, is an integral part of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network. Their secretariat supports local Red Cross and Red Crescent action in more than 192 countries, bringing together almost 15 million volunteers for the good of humanity.
  • The United Nations operates a Cross-Border Fund which allows support to reach millions of people displaced by conflict in NW Syria. 4.1 million people in NW Syria including 2.9 million internally displaced people were already in need of humanitarian assistance before the earthquakes struck. Ireland has contributed €220 million in direct humanitarian assistance to the Syria refugee response since the beginning of the crisis.
  • The UNHRD is a network of strategically located depots or hubs that procures, stores, and transports emergency relief supplies on behalf of the humanitarian community, including Irish Aid. Under Ireland’s partnership with UNHRD, which began in 2006, Irish Aid pre-positions emergency relief supplies (or humanitarian stocks) in 4 of the 6 UNHRD hubs, in Accra, Brindisi, Dubai and Panama City. UNHRD not only procures and stores Ireland’s stocks but also arranges for their packaging and transport to the crisis affected country.
  • Ireland has also contributed to the humanitarian response through our role on the UN Security Council. As co-penholder on the Syria humanitarian file, we successfully led negotiations on the renewal of the Security Council Resolution mandating the delivery of aid from Türkiye into Northwest Syria – a lifeline for millions in the region
  • Ireland has committed €12.5m to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2023, an increase of €1m from 2022. The CERF which was established with the assistance of Ireland provides rapid funding to emergencies and disasters such as the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Ireland is the 8th largest contributor to this fund since its inception in 2006.
  • Ireland is a long-standing and reliable supporter of the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. For each of the past four years, we have provided over 1 million Euro to the fund. So far the DREF has provided 2 million CHF to the Turkish Red Cross and 1 million CHF to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).


Press Office

13 February 2023


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