2:09 p.m. ET, February 11, 2023
Humanitarian phase of earthquake recovery will last for months, says International Red Cross leader
Medical supplies from China's Red Cross arrive in Damascus, Syria, on February 10.
Recovery in Turkey after the devastating earthquake has now entered the "humanitarian phase," according to Jamie LeSueur, the head of emergency operations at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
As his team moves on from search-and-rescue operations, the greatest needs for those affected in Turkey continue to be food, health and water, LeSueur told CNN from Gaziantep.
"We've now entered into the humanitarian phase. That is going to last for a couple of months, where we'll still try to meet people's basic needs," LeSueur said.
The organization is receiving many winterized tents right now due to cold weather, but it is looking into pre-fabricated transitional shelter options, he said. Most of the population is too afraid to go inside, even if their homes have not been completely destroyed.
"We want to get them out of the humanitarian phase as quickly as possible, into something sustainable and transitional that's going to keep them safe for a long time," the crisis responder said.
LeSueur added that his team is preparing for any eventuality, including the spread of diseases, and they are coordinating with the Turkish Red Crescent about sanitation needs.
The Red Cross is well-positioned to deal with needs in southern Turkey, he said, but also in hard-hit areas of northwestern Syria, where aid has been more complicated
due to years of civil war.
"In Turkey, we've established an operation that goes to the border with Syria, and in Syria, we're using the Syrian Arab Red Crescent that going up to the Turkish border; we're trying to cover the entire operational area with two national societies," he said.