How does the political situation in the region impact relief operations?
The earthquake mainly impacted northwestern Syria. It is an area normally difficult to access, because many groups have a say, but on top of that, the main Syrian roads have been damaged due to the earthquake. The situation has now improved a little, but this has considerably delayed the arrival of help in the area. This is essential, however, because the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding people alive under the rubble.
Part of the medical or material supply was also blocked at the Turkish border. So far we have used the resources we have in stock, but there are not many of them. Tanks and covers are in high demand. My priorities are therefore to obtain new resources and to allocate those that are available.
Fortunately, the NGO World Vision International has been in the area for the past seven or eight years and the different groups in the area allow us to focus on our humanitarian work. Today we are providing first aid to the survivors, we are setting up shelters for people to warm up because the weather is very bad in Syria right now. But the loss of power lines, water and sewage systems greatly worsened the effects of the earthquake.