UN warns of a “catastrophic situation” for the displaced in northwest Syria due to winter

The United Nations warned Monday that the displaced in northwest Syria are facing catastrophic winter conditions, calling on the international community to take more steps to protect them.

"No one should live in these conditions," said Mark Cutts, deputy regional coordinator for Syria at the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, during a video call with journalists in New York.

"We are very concerned" about the 2.8 million displaced people in this area, he said. Most of them live in tented camps that do not withstand the snow.

Heavy rains fall in other areas that record very low temperatures, and these people deserve to have “better shelters.”

The UN official stressed that "this is a truly disaster-stricken area," calling on "the international community to make more efforts." He said that last year the United Nations requested more than 4 billion dollars to provide humanitarian aid in Syria, but collected only 45 percent of this amount.

He added that due to a lack of suitable equipment, the snow is being lifted manually, and considered it necessary to replace the tents with solid shelters.

Idlib province in northwestern Syria, home to 2.8 million people, is the last rebel stronghold to escape Damascus control.

The humanitarian aid that reaches them mainly passes through the border between Turkey and Syria under a special mandate from the United Nations that avoids obtaining permission from Damascus and expires in July.

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