A top UN official has said that 10.9 million people have been affected by the disaster in Syria, as new snowfall compounded the humanitarian crisis further.
The number of people who were in need of assistance in the region before the earthquake stood at 15.3 million – but that will now have to be revised, the UN resident coordinator for Syria, El-Mostafa Benlamlih, told a briefing Wednesday.
In the ancient city of Aleppo alone, 100,000 people are believed to be homeless, with 30,000 currently sheltered in schools and mosques.
“Those are the lucky ones,” he said. The remaining 70,000 “have snow, they have cold and they are living in a terrible situation,” he added.
An aid worker distributing supplies across cities in northern Syria told CNN that homeless people have been sleeping in their cars amid a “very, very difficult,” situation.
“Those who are still alive under the rubble might die from the cold weather,” Dr. Mostafa Edo, the country director for MedGlobal, said Thursday.
The assistance in Syria is “nowhere near enough” as the UN called for “urgent” lifesaving aid, the UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen said.
In rebel-held territories of northwest Syria, desperately needed help is expected to arrive from Turkish territory through a border crossing Thursday.
“We were assured that we will be able to get through the first assistance today, and then there will be more assistance coming,” Pedersen said.
Some context: The Syrian regime is shunned by most Western countries, after a deadly campaign led by President Bashar al-Assad to quell the country’s peaceful uprising in 2011 exploded into a civil war, and led to an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
While Turkey has received help from dozens of countries, the aid situation in Syria is less clear as Assad has used the opportunity to call for sanctions against his regime to be lifted.
Syrian victims of the devastating quake may now become hostages of the politics that have divided the country for over a decades, analysts warned CNN.
CNN’s Nadeen Ebrahim and Dalya Al Masri contributed reporting.