Displaced families endure the bitter cold of winter in Jandaris | earthquake news

Jandaris, Syria – Hundreds of families displaced by two earthquakes in Turkey and Syria are sleeping in tents during harsh winter conditions in Jandaris, a town in northwestern Syria controlled by rebels.

Many houses in the town collapsed and other residential buildings buckled in Monday’s quake, sending residents fleeing to open ground.

Samaher Rashid, 47, a mother of 10 children, all of whom survived the quake, said: “These children have done nothing wrong to be forced to live in conditions like this or have to. suffer from worries far greater than them.

The family took shelter in a tent in a field just outside town.

Samaher Rashid with his children in front of their tent
Samaher Rashid tries to spend the day playing with his children to distract them from the disaster [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

“When the earthquake happened, I didn’t know what was happening except that the house started shaking violently and the floor started to tilt down, so I shouted really loudly to get all the children out. home,” said Samaher.

Now, she tries to spend most of each day with her children, trying to distract them from the situation.

“These kids just can’t stand what’s happened, and I think I have to be around them, smiling and playing so they don’t think about things that might bother them,” Samaher said. “When night fell and my children were asleep, I broke down and cried wondering how we were going to find a home to stay so they could escape the cold in this tent.”

Samaher said the family lacked many essentials such as heaters, firewood, blankets and infant formula.

The death toll in Turkey and Syria rose above 22,000 on Friday. At least 19,388 deaths have been confirmed in Turkey and 3,553 in Syria. Authorities said they expect the death toll to continue to rise as search and recovery operations continue.

The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said search and rescue operations were continuing in Jandaris. It said 513 people were killed there and 813 wounded were rescued from its ruins.

The town is located near the border with Turkey and has a large number of Syrians emigrated from other parts of the country due to the 12-year war.

Samaher Rashid and the children in front of the tent
‘When my kids sleep, I break down and cry,’ says Samaher [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

‘I’ve lost everything’

Nashaat Muhammad Raslan, 35, who is married and has three children, said his family home had been destroyed.

“I lost everything I owned, everything in the house is now a ruin,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen to me and my family.”

Muhammad told Al Jazeera that he and his family rushed out of their home during the earthquake with only their clothes on their backs. They don’t even have time to get blankets to protect themselves from the cold.

They arrived at a camp for displaced people near Salqin, a town also near the Turkish border. One of Muhammad’s relatives lives there and he hopes to find a place to stay. Eventually, they moved to a camp for earthquake survivors.

the scene of setting up tents for people whose houses collapsed
The number of collapsed buildings in opposition-controlled areas exceeded 400 and more than 1,300 buildings were damaged. [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

“In this camp, we don’t have the most basic necessities of life, especially food, blankets and heating materials, so I will return to my relatives’ tents to sleep there,” said Muhammad. speak.

“The scale of the disaster we are experiencing is greater than we can endure in northern Syria, so we need everything,” he said. “We need urgent international intervention to at least establish shelter for the hundreds of families whose homes have been destroyed or uninhabitable.”

On Thursday, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces held a press conference in the city of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo province to discuss the earthquake’s impact on the areas controlled by the Syrian opposition and the catastrophic response of the international and international community. organization.

The head of the coalition, Haitham Rahma, said the number of collapsed buildings in opposition-controlled areas was more than 400 and the number of damaged buildings exceeded 1,300.

people sitting outside shelter tents
It took several days after the earthquake for the first humanitarian aid to reach northwestern Syria via Turkey. [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

There are still shortages of food and heating supplies in the rebel-held region, especially with a three-day delay in UN aid to the region from Turkey.

Yasser Tarraf, an official with Al-Ameen Humanitarian Assistance, said: “We are mainly affected by the severe shortage of support to buy heating materials and by the border crossing with Turkey is closed.” “There is a shortage of basic things including food baskets such as legumes and oils that are not available in markets in northern Syria.”


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