While civil rescuers in Syria continue their response missions to save those trapped under the rubble caused by Monday’s devastating earthquake, thousands are being forced to sleep in the open without shelter.
These thousands had survived the quake by hurdling to the streets moments before their homes collapsed.
“We no longer know where to go! We have no house left, and we have no clothes or blankets. We have been living in the car for two days. All night we run the car heater, so the kids don't get cold,” Abu Ziad, a father of six, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Abu Ziad’s house in the city of Sarmada, north of Idlib, was destroyed completely within a few seconds of him and his family managing to escape.
Like hundreds of other citizens who are waiting to find another shelter, Abu Ziad’s family didn’t have the time to pack any of their belongings before the earthquake hit.
Abu Ziad, 55, describes the moments of the earthquake as horrific and unprecedented.
“At about 4:30 am (Monday), we felt an earthquake, but this time it was not like the previous ones. The shaking began to escalate frighteningly and was accompanied by terrifying screams from everywhere in the area,” he said.
“The walls of the house started cracking at a high speed. We immediately decided to remove the children from inside the house outside,” he added.
“Soon, our house collapsed to the ground, as well as other houses and buildings in the same neighborhood,” noted Abu Ziad, adding that many families were unable to escape, and are now trapped under the ruins.
Abu Ziad explained that his family, like many others, was suffering from tough circumstances as they were left with nothing else but their car.
Many families were forced to the streets because of the aftershocks threatening to collapse their homes. Many buildings were rendered unsafe for living because of cracks and fissures appearing in their foundations.