Member States and observers of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) paid their tribute to the victims of the earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria on 6 February 2023, causing widespread destruction across densely populated cities and claiming more than 22,000 lives so far, with the numbers sadly increasing by the hour.
A one-minute silence was observed at the opening of the final day (10 February) of the ninth session of the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW Sub-Committee), which was held at IMO headquarters in London.
The Chair of the HTW Sub-Committee, Mr. Haakon Storhaug (Norway), led the observance of the silence and called for a moment of reflection and remembrance for those affected by the natural disaster. He conveyed the thoughts and prayers of all delegations attending the meeting to the people affected by this terrible tragedy.
Türkiye is home to the largest number of refugees in the world with up to 3.6 million Syrians living there, according to the United Nations, having fled war in their own country. And in Syria, the UN estimates that 5.3 million people may have been left homeless by the earthquakes.
In a statement to the HTW Sub-Committee, the delegation of Türkiye expressed their gratitude for the generous and overwhelming support flowing in from the international community and provided an update on the dire situation in the affected areas.
The delegation stated that the efforts of the international community are highly appreciated and underlined that this disaster was “a reminder to us all of the fragility of life and the importance of coming together in times of need”.