Six trucks have crossed into northwestern Syria from Turkey for the first time since the earthquake on Monday.
The first United Nations aid convoy since a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck on Monday has crossed into northwest Syria from Turkey, the UN has confirmed.
Six trucks on Thursday reached Bab al-Hawa, the only border crossing authorised by the UN Security Council for aid delivery, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Al Jazeera.
The flow of humanitarian aid had been temporarily disrupted since the first pre-dawn quake hit on Monday due to logistical issues and damage to the road connecting Gaziantep to the UN transhipment hub in Hatay.
OCHA said on Wednesday it had identified two alternative routes to reach the hub from Gaziantep, via Kilis-Kirikhan and from Mersin via Adana-Kirikhan.
Assaad Al-Achi, head of the civil society organisation Baytna Syria, told Al Jazeera that the Turkish government authorised aid to go through two additional crossings, Bab Al-Salama and Al-Rai.
However, OCHA officials said Bab Al-Hawa remained the only viable route for UN aid.
In 2022, some 600 trucks loaded with aid crossed from Turkey each month, reaching 2.6 million Syrians on average.
Humanitarian needs have grown in the aftermath of the earthquake, which has left at least 1,730 people dead and destroyed hundreds of buildings in the opposition-held area, according to rescue workers.
The UN agency said at least 648 aftershocks have been reported, complicating rescue operations and aid delivery.
According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the total number of search and rescue personnel in the region is 79,110.
Yet, only 5 percent of reported sites in northwest Syria are currently being covered by search and rescue operations, OCHA said.
The lack of heavy machines to remove rubble has significantly complicated rescue efforts, alongside power outages due to fuel shortages and dire winter weather conditions.
More to follow.