A combination of freezing weather and destroyed infrastructure is hampering rescue efforts in northwestern Syria, as aid workers struggle to access victims of the powerful earthquake amid conflict and political crisis there, a top charity official has told CNN.
"It is a difficult area for humanitarians, but over the years ... we've learned to steer away on political issues and focus on humanitarian assistance," Johan Mooij, the Syria Response director for World Vision, told CNN's Bianca Nobilo.
World Vision has staff stationed inside Syria to ease access to disaster-stricken regions, Mooij said.
Rescuers from the charity are working to provide shelter to survivors who have lost their homes. The loss of electricity lines, water and sewer systems have compounded the affects of the earthquake, Mooij added.
The region was already struggling to restore key infrastructure heavily damaged by continual aerial bombardment during the country's civil war, which the United Nations estimates to have claimed 300,000 lives since 2011.
The cold weather conditions in Turkey and Syria are also hampering aid efforts on both sides of the border, putting the lives of those trapped underneath the rubble, who have already gone days without food and water, at risk of hypothermia.
It's very cold and rainy and it snows now and then. It is a terrible situation indeed," Mooij added.
"This area was affected by so many disasters already in the last couple of years. And we talk about the war, we talk about displacement, Covid. There's been quite a bit cholera. And now, this.
"People feel they are getting pretty desperate, and see no way out."