Security Council members Brazil and Switzerland, the co-penholders on the Syrian humanitarian file, have requested a council meeting to discuss response after the massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.
“We appreciate the decision of the (UN) Secretary-General to ask Undersecretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief (Coordinator), Martin Griffiths to travel to areas affected by the earthquake this weekend. We believe that USG Griffiths’ assessment will shed light on the effects of the disaster on the UN humanitarian operations,” Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations, Ronaldo Costa Filho, told reporters.
“In this regard, Switzerland and Brazil, as co-penholders, have called for a meeting at the earliest time feasible that should serve as an opportunity to hear directly from Griffiths on his visit to the region,” he said at a joint press encounter with Swiss ambassador to the United Nations, Pascale Baeriswyl.
“The decision on what has to be done to assist the humanitarian effort depends on incredible information. And for that, the visit of USG Griffiths is key. He will be conducting an evaluation as to what the effective situation is, where the bottlenecks for the delivery of aid exist, and how best members of the council can address that. So unfortunately, we have to work on the business of information,” said the Brazilian ambassador.
Additional needs and additional mechanisms that the Security Council should discuss will depend on an evaluation of the concrete situation on the ground. It cannot be a gut reaction to what is on the press, he added.
“We have to know very clearly what the situation is and what the correct responses are going to be. And for that, USG Griffiths’ visit and information will be key.”
Baeriswyl said her country and Brazil “stand ready to facilitate agreement on further action by the council if required,” without giving details, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We will be guided only by the imperative of addressing the humanitarian needs of the affected population,” she said.
As rescue efforts continue, the number of people killed and injured keeps rising as well as the needs on the ground, which were already high, she added.
“We urge all parties to facilitate access for relief efforts and allow for the assistance to reach all those in need. Rapid, unimpeded, and sustainable access must be granted throughout Syria. All response modalities to which people in need — cross-line, cross-border — are needed.”
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