Six months after a major earthquake added to the devastation of civil war in northwestern Syria, residents are struggling to rebuild with little assistance. The quake, which struck in February, resulted in over 6,000 deaths and left approximately 265,000 people homeless, according to the United Nations. Despite this, there are no plans for a comprehensive or organized reconstruction effort.
International Politics Hamper Aid Efforts
The situation has been further complicated by the expiration of a U.N. resolution allowing cross-border aid from Turkey. Three U.S. Congress members recently visited the area, marking the first visit by American lawmakers to this region of Syria in a decade. However, rebuilding efforts remain largely piecemeal, and many residents feel overlooked and forgotten.
The Syrian conflict has added additional layers of complexity to the recovery process, including territorial divisions, international sanctions on the Syrian government, and questions of property rights in areas where many homeowners have been displaced. The biggest aid donors to Syria – the United States and European countries – are hesitant to fund reconstruction efforts until there is a political resolution to the conflict.
Personal Stories of Despair and Resilience
The lack of support has led to a sense of despair among many residents. Fatima al-Miree and her family, for instance, are living in a tent next to their damaged home, too afraid to sleep inside the cracked building. Abdulrahman al-Aas, who lost 36 family members in the quake, has been forced to rebuild his life and business from scratch.
Read more at The New York Times.