UN food agency chief reports apocalyptic scenes in Turkey

UN food agency chief reports ‘apocalyptic’ scenes in Turkey – Portal.com

ROME, Feb 25 (Portal) – The head of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said on Saturday he was confronted with “apocalyptic” scenes while visiting earthquake-hit areas in southern Turkey.

Powerful earthquakes that began on February 6 have struck both Turkey and neighboring Syria, killing more than 50,000 people, according to the latest figures released on Friday.

“There is only one way to describe what I saw today: apocalyptic,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley after visiting the city of Antakya in Turkey’s Hatay province.

“Whole neighborhoods have been razed, homes demolished, schools and businesses closed, lives torn apart. The scale of the devastation here is truly incredible,” he said.

The official added in a statement that the situation on the Syrian side is tantamount to “disaster upon catastrophe,” referring to the past 12 years of civil war.

WFP said Beasley visited a UN logistics center where trucks are loaded with food and other supplies before crossing to north-west Syria.

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He stressed the urgency of expanding food supplies to Syria “through all routes – without any restrictions” and called on “all parties to facilitate access”.

Northwest Syria, controlled by opposition groups, was hardest hit during the war with President Bashar al-Assad, whose population was already dependent on basic supplies.

Increasing aid shipments are linked to the opening of additional border crossings from Turkey into rebel-held areas.

One of these, Bab al-Hawa, has already been used under UN Security Council approval, and Assad has given waivers for two others to be opened for three months.

Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Alexander Smith

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