Passage of resolution comes as death toll surpasses 50,000; resolution calls for additional border crossings and immediate cession of violence in Syria

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), today announced that their bipartisan resolution expressing deepest condolences to and solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria and calling for robust humanitarian aid following the catastrophic earthquake last month has unanimously passed the Senate.

This Senate resolution calls on the United Nations Security Council to allow for additional border crossings from Türkiye into northern Syria for aid convoys, and urges the immediate cessation of violence in northern Syria to allow full access for humanitarian aid organizations.

“The images and stories we have seen emerging from the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria are absolutely heart wrenching,” said Senator Merkley, a member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee. “Nearly two months after this horrific tragedy, I am continuing to think of the families who lost loved ones and those who were injured. The devastation is heartbreaking and so many have lost everything. Passage of this resolution reaffirms the United States’ commitment to coordinate effective humanitarian aid to the impacted communities as quickly and robustly as possible.”

“Seventy years ago, a Turkish brigade joined the battle in Korea against advancing communist forces, fighting shoulder-to-shoulder alongside thousands of American service members. This heroic episode underscores the long-standing bond that exists between our two countries, a bond that has only deepened over the years through Turkiye’s role as a NATO ally and critical U.S. security partner,” said Senator Sullivan. “On behalf of the American people, my colleagues and I express our solidarity with the people of Turkiye and Syria who are recovering from the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has taken the lives of more than 50,000. We will also continue working to deliver much-needed disaster aid to save lives and help these communities recover.”

“I’ve seen first-hand the destruction that earthquakes can cause, so I’m pleased the United States is working to support relief efforts in Turkiye and Syria,” said Senator Feinstein. “I’m grateful the Senate passed our resolution reaffirming the United States’ support for recovery efforts.”

“Today’s passed resolution reinforces our solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria as theyre cover and rebuild following last month’s earthquake,” said Senator Cramer. “This tragic natural disaster affected an unfathomable number of individuals and families. It’s encouraging to witness unified support for efforts to provide humanitarian aid and assistance.”

“The devastation and loss of life in Türkiye and Syria are heartbreaking. Entire families and communities are torn apart as the staggering death toll continues to rise,” said Senator Durbin. “Our bipartisan resolution, which passed the Senate today, reaffirms our commitment to these nations who are grappling with the unthinkable right now, and we will continue to work in the Senate to provide the Turkish and Syrian people with humanitarian aid and assistance. They are resilient, and we will help them rebuild from this tragedy.”

The Senators’ resolution recognizes that at 7.8 magnitude, the February 6th earthquake is the most powerful earthquake recorded in Türkiye since 1939, with more than 100 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater registered by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Tragically, the death toll from this catastrophe has continued to climb to well over 50,000, with thousands more reported injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.

This resolution calls attention to ongoing efforts from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), including a nearly 200-member Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Türkiye and financial support for USAID’s humanitarian partners to deliver urgently-needed aid for millions of people in Türkiye and Syria. The resolution further spotlights concerted efforts and support from individuals, businesses, and philanthropic and humanitarian organizations across the United States and throughout the international community to the people of Türkiye and Syria.

This bipartisan resolution commends the efforts and honors the sacrifice of the men and women engaged in the humanitarian response on the ground in the affected regions of Türkiye and Syria, and further shows support for the efforts of the United States Government in its coordination of immediate and effective inter-agency humanitarian support. Furthermore, the resolution urges the continuation of emergency relief and reconstruction efforts in Türkiye and Syria and encourages further efforts to assist Türkiye by providing structural engineers, medical personnel and supplies, and technical experts.

Full text of the resolution can be found here.