By Beyza Binnur Donmez
GENEVA (AA) - The UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA launched a $16 million appeal Monday for Palestinian refugees impacted by last month’s earthquakes in Türkiye.
It aims to "meet the humanitarian and early recovery needs of Palestine refugees who were affected by this natural catastrophe in Syria and Lebanon," the agency said in a statement.
"Among the first humanitarian organizations on the ground, UNRWA provided emergency relief services, including health, psychosocial and mental healthcare, food and cash assistance, non-food items, and rental subsidies and housing to Palestine refugees in Aleppo and Lattakia," it said.
"The earthquake also caused damage to an already weak housing and infrastructure in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, including medical and educational facilities and water towers."
The appeal will enable UNRWA to support affected Palestinian refugees with cash and non-food items until August 2023, it added.
"The earthquakes and their aftershocks caused an unfathomable level of suffering to people in northern Syria, across the fault and conflict lines including Palestine refugees," said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.
"The Agency was able to respond to their most urgent need for safety and assistance on the very first day, including by having some 700 people sleep in an UNRWA school in Lattakia," Lazzarini said. "We are counting on our partners to help us help Palestine refugees in this time of acute need."
The 7.7 and 7.6-magnitude quakes were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces -- Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig and Sanliurfa.
More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.
Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in fewer than 10 hours.