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Liberia’s PPCC Delegation In Turkey Safe After Shocking Earthquake

A Liberian delegation from the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, led by its executive director, Cllr. Jargbe Roseline Nagbe Kowo, has been marked ‘safe’ since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook in the town of Gaziantep, Turkey near the border with Syria on Monday, February 6. 

According to an CNN and Al Jazeera report, Cllr. Kowo and team are currently in the Turkish capital of Istanbul, some 850 kilometers from Gaziantep, to participate in a Public Policy and Change Management Training program.

The PPCC delegation, which includes the Acting Chairperson of the PPCC Board of Commissioners, Bodger Scott Johnson and six other staff members of the Commission, is on a ‘knowledge seeking’ mission as part of efforts to transition the PPCC from the manual procurement process to digital.

The death toll from the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria is now at least 7,266. Syria’s volunteer organization the White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defense, said the death toll in northwest Syria was 1,020 in opposition-held areas.

Syrian state media reported that at least 812 people are dead in government-controlled areas, bringing Syria’s total death toll to at least 1,832. Turkish health minister Fahrettin Koca said in a news conference on Tuesday that the death toll in Turkey is now 5,434.

The earthquake led to the collapse of thousands of buildings in the two nations and aid agencies are warning of “catastrophic” repercussions in northwest Syria, where millions of vulnerable and displaced people were already relying on humanitarian support.

Search-and-rescue efforts however continue in both countries as workers race against time to reach victims buried under debris. The earthquakes, one of the most powerful to hit the region in a century, rocked residents from their slumber in the early hours of Monday morning around 4 a.m.

Meanwhile, The International Rescue Committee is warning of “catastrophic humanitarian needs” in Syria and Turkey as it appeals for funds and lifesaving support for those affected “before it is too late”.

“With the response in its infancy the need for humanitarian aid is stark,” Tanya Evans, the aid group’s Syria director, said in a statement. “Roads and infrastructure, like bridges, have been damaged meaning it will likely prove challenging to get supplies to those who need it most.”

“Even before the earthquake, humanitarian access was constrained in northwest Syria, with most aid coming in via one crossing-point with Türkiye,” she said. “In this time of increased need it is critical that the levels of aid crossing also increase at pace too.”

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