LONDON: Last month’s deadly earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria could have long-term effects on the mental health of children, a UK aid worker has told Metro newspaper.
“I can leave, I can get on a plane at the end of this trip. Many of these families cannot; this is their life,” said Unicef’s Joe English.
He arrived in Turkiye 10 days after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6, and worked with children who lost their family homes in the disaster.
After a second earthquake later in February, he traveled to northern Syria to help in aid relief efforts.
The long-term impacts of the earthquakes on local children are compounded by the damage caused by Syria’s civil war, English said.
He praised the significant British aid push that allowed organizations such as Unicef to rapidly roll out aid across Turkiye and Syria.
“We’re doing what we can to reach children with psychosocial support, to give them safe spaces to play, to color in and be with their friends — just to be a child again,” he said.
“I was speaking to an 11-year-old yesterday: His entire life has been set against this backdrop of conflict and displacement.”