Approximately 1,000 tents used by the UN to shelter internally-displaced persons in northwest Syria have collapsed or been badly damaged by snow, an official said on Monday.
“Many of these people do not have shovels or other equipment to clear the snow so they’ve been clearing snow from the tents with their bare hands,” Mark Cutts, the UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Syria, told reporters at a press conference.
“These civilians are stranded in a warzone, and now, on top of that, they’re dealing with temperatures below zero. No one should have to live in these conditions,” he said.
In a final remark, Cutts appealed to the international community to “do more, to recognize the scale of the crisis, to help us get these people out of tents and into safer, more dignified temporary shelter.”
The northwestern city of Idlib hosts more than 2.8 million internally displaced persons, with the majority of them being women, children and elderly that live in temporary camps and tents along the frontier between Turkey and Syria.
In addition to harsh winter conditions that affected roughly 100,000 people, many camps in Idlib have been flooded, further compounding hardships for hundreds of families.
Overall, about 150,000 people have been affected by freezing conditions and heavy rain.