Wednesday, 08 February 2023 20:34

Earthquake disaster latest: fresh snow compounds Syrians’ misery

© UNICEF/Can Erok
The search for survivors continues following the earthquake which affected Türkiye and Syria.

Fresh snowfall in Syria on Wednesday has compounded the already desperate situation faced by millions of people in the five governorates whose lives have been shattered by the earthquake disaster, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the country said.

We have already a very vulnerable situation; people (are) already vulnerable, not capable of taking care of themselves…and all of a sudden comes this,” said El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UN Resident Coordinator for Syria.

Progress lost

“All the achievements we had before, anybody who had a small business has lost that business, anybody who could go to school cannot go to school, women who could go to protection centres cannot go to protection centres.

Mr. Benlamlih warned that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance – currently 15.3 million – will have to be revised upwards.

Speaking from Damascus via video link, Mr. Benlamlih told journalists in New York that 10.9 million people in Syria had been affected by the catastrophe in the northwestern governorates of Hama, Latakia, Idlib, Aleppo and Tartus.

Some 100,000 people are now believed to be homeless in Aleppo alone, the humanitarian official continued, as he described how just 30,000 of that number had found shelter in schools and mosques.

Those are the lucky ones,” he said, before stressing that the remaining 70,000 “have snow, they have cold and they are living in a terrible situation”.

El-Mostafa Benlamlih, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Syria.
UN News
El-Mostafa Benlamlih, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Syria.

Aid lifeline latest

Confirming that roads have been damaged that lead to the only permitted cross-border aid route into northwest Syria from Türkiye at Bab al-Hawa, the UN Resident Coordinator for Syria said that he was hopeful that the crossing point would reopen on Thursday.

“Luckily we’re hearing today that the road is opening…we’re hoping that tomorrow, we will be able to deliver something across the border,” he said, stressing that UN aid teams and partners had started working “from the first hour of the disaster” by using prepositioned stocks of food, dignity and medical kits.