Hundreds of thousands of people in Syria have been left homeless in the middle of winter following Monday's deadly earthquakes. Across northwestern Syria — where temperatures are below freezing — many people are staying in makeshift shelters, mosques and in the ruins of destroyed buildings.
Mousa Zidane, a volunteer with the “White Helmets,” officially known as Syria Civil Defense, told CNN on Thursday that in the aftermath of the quakes, "tens of thousands of families are currently homeless all-over northwest Syria."
"Hundreds of families in Idlib are sleeping in their cars, public parks, and streets," after their homes were destroyed, Zidane said. "Even those who still have homes, they are scared to spend the night indoors, they briefly go to their homes during the day then they leave at night out of fear [of further earthquakes]."
Zidane said the cold weather is adding to the catastrophe, as rescue teams struggle to extract people from under the rubble.
"We need help searching for survivors and pulling the dead from under collapsed buildings. We urgently need to help homeless families by providing shelters, food, cloths and vital essentials," Zidane said.
People need their homes back and their dead "pulled out and buried," Zidane added.
When asked about diggers, Zidane said they were not initially available, but a limited number are now working to clear the debris. "Not enough to cover the whole area. We need more," he said.
Zidane said there is limited access to aid that doesn't cover people's needs in northwest Syria, much of which is controlled by anti-government rebels amid a humanitarian crisis resulting from Syria's more than decade-long civil war.
"We are feeling, again, like we are abandoned by the world. We are feeling like the world let us down, again, because no one came and helped us with our catastrophe," Zidane said in a tweeted video.