Britain commits extra £25m for earthquake relief tents and field hospital

Aid will help buy medical supplies and blankets for survivors made homeless

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Follow the latest news on the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

An extra £25 million ($30 million) from the UK will be used to buy tents and blankets for people made homeless in the earthquake disaster that has killed tens of thousands of people in Turkey and Syria.

The UK government on Wednesday announced it would give another £25 million to the relief effort and the continuing placement of medical expertise at a field hospital in Turkoglu, southern Turkey.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the aid would provide “vital humanitarian assistance” to survivors of the earthquake.

“The UK government has already provided considerable aid but I am pleased to announce today that we are actually going to provide £25 million further financial support,” he said.

“That is going to go to the United Nations, to British charities, local charities and the Turkish authorities.

“It is going to provide vital humanitarian assistance on the ground, including medical supplies, tents, blankets and it comes on top of the support we have already provided, including 77 search-and-rescue teams who have been on the ground for a while.

“We will continue to do everything we can to provide help and support on the ground.”

More than 40,000 people have died in Syria and Turkey and UN officials fear the ultimate death toll could top 50,000.

Britain sent an international search and rescue team to Turkey in the early response to the disaster and has increased support for the White Helmets group in Syria.

The Turkoglu field hospital, which includes an emergency department, 24-hour operating theatre and medical staff, is also providing care for survivors.

Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said: “As this evolving situation transitions from rescue to recovery, we are seeing thousands of families left homeless by the earthquake, packed into crowded tents or lined up in the streets queuing for hot meals.

“The UK's priority is to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people who need it most and that is why I am pleased to announce this additional funding today, which will be so vital in ensuring those affected can begin to rebuild their lives.”

A public appeal to help victims of the earthquake by the Disasters Emergency Committee, a non-government organisation that brings together 15 UK aid charities, raised more than £60 million in its first three days.

The aid announced on Wednesday brings the total UK financial support for the earthquake zone to £42.8 million.

Updated: February 15, 2023, 6:41 PM