A Saudi aid plane landed in Syria’s quake-stricken Aleppo on Tuesday, Syrian state media says, in first reported arrival from the Kingdom to government-held areas.
The plane which departed King Khalid International Airport at dawn is carrying 35 tons and 322 kilograms of medical aid, food and shelter kits, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
It’s the eighth plane that Saudi Arabia has sent to aid those affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria last week.
A spokesperson for King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) told Al Arabiya that there was coordination with the Syrian Red Crescent to operate the air bridge to Aleppo.
He also said that the KSRelief was working with “credible civil institutions in Syria,” adding that the center will send more planes carrying humanitarian relief to Aleppo.
The death toll of the earthquake, which UN aid chief Martin Griffiths described as the “worst event in 100 years” in the region, has killed nearly 34,000 in both countries.
On Sunday, Griffiths said that he believes the death toll will “double or more” to top 50,000.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the earthquake has affected nearly 26 million people. WHO has initiated a flash appeal for $42.8 million to address the pressing health needs of those affected.
The situation is particularly dire in Syria, where it is estimated that up to 5.3 million individuals may now be homeless.
More than 3,600 people have been killed by the quake in Syria alone, according to the government and emergency services in the opposition-held northwest.
The mostly government-controlled province of Aleppo was badly hit, with more than 200,000 people left homeless, according to the World Health Organization.
Since 2011, the conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes, with many seeking refuge in Turkey.
Even before last week’s earthquake, the majority of the population was in need of humanitarian assistance. The latest disaster has only piled on more misery.
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