During the UCLG Annual Retreat in Barcelona from February 20th to 24th, the UCLG World Organization called for solidarity in response to the earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria.
On 6 February 2023, two huge earthquakes with magnitude 7,7 and 7,6 hit Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye and affected a large geography covering ten countries. 25 million people have been directly affected by earthquakes and aftershocks in Türkiye and Syria, the two countries that have been damaged the most.
These earthquakes causing massive destruction have affected 13.5 million people living in Türkiye, and in the most affected areas of the country, 45 thousand people have lost their lives, 130 thousand buildings have collapsed and millions of people have had to leave the cities they lived in. In Syria, almost ten thousand people lost their lives and nearly 4 million people have lost their homes. The UCLG family shares the sorrow of millions of people who live in Türkiye and Syria. As the largest local government organization representing thousands of local and regional governments, we stand in solidarity with our members in the region.
Taking the losses caused into consideration, we are releasing this declaration in solidarity with the cities affected by the earthquakes and to support them in the rebuilding process. We, as UCLG family, promise to do everything within our power to help support those who have been deeply affected by the disasters. In this regard, we believe that all the resources should be mobilized to provide the financial, technical and humanitarian needs to rebuild these cities.
The leadership and participation of local governments is vital for us during the rebuilding process of the cities affected by the earthquakes. Therefore, we will support local governments in the preparation and implementation of recovery plans, and call for coordinated multilevel action in the response to the crisis to ensure we rebuild safer, more durable and more environmentally friendly cities.
We believe that serious efforts should be made to reduce the risk of earthquakes and to enhance disaster management to not suffer the consequences caused by such disasters again. In this context, we will continue developing our resilience agenda in order to be prepared for emergencies and reduce the risks.
We commit to supporting decentralized cooperation and peer-to-peer collaboration, in particular through coordinated efforts such as our Solidarity Fund, to rebuild the cities that were affected. As UCLG, we would like to share our deepest sympathies and prayers with those affected by the crisis, and would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.