Blinken visits Earthquake Zone, Commits 100 Million dollars in Aid

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a helicopter tour on Feb. 19 of one of the provinces worst-affected by the Feb. 6 earthquake in southern Türkiye and northern Syria and pledged a further $100 million in aid to help the region.

“This is going to be a long-term effort,” Blinken said at Incirlik Air Base, a joint U.S.-Turkish facility that has coordinated the distribution of disaster aid. “The search and rescue, unfortunately, is coming to an end. The recovery is on, and then there will be a massive rebuilding operation.”

President Joe Biden announced $85 million for Türkiye and Syria days after the earthquake that killed 41,020 people in Türkiye. The U.S. has also sent a search and rescue team, medical supplies and equipment.

The additional aid includes $50 million in emergency refugee and migration funds and $50 million in humanitarian assistance, Blinken said.

The secretary of state is making his first trip to NATO ally Türkiye since he took office two years ago. Blinken arrived at Incirlik Air Base, near Adana, on Sunday after attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

He toured Türkiye’s toured Hatay province from the air with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. He was expected to meet with U.S. and Turkish service personnel, as well as Turkish military families affected by the earthquake.