Earthquake survivors battle freezing temperatures as search and rescue operation continues

Thousands of people have been left homeless in below freezing temperatures across Turkey and Syria. Credit: AP

Some nine days have now passed since the deadliest earthquake in over a decade left parts of Turkey and Syria devastated.

Tens of thousands have been confirmed dead across the two countries, with the aid response of both government's coming under fire.

As the death toll continues to rise, the immediate weather conditions have played a huge part in this deadly natural disaster.

Just days after the respective 7.8 and 7.7 magnitude quakes plus thousands of aftershocks, Turkey and Syria were battling against freezing temperatures, snowfall and a bitter wind chill - this disrupted the search and rescue efforts for the services involved.

The heavy snowfall - some 30-50cm - came during Storm Barbara, named by the Hellenic Met Service, which pushed eastwards across the Mediterranean.

Minimum temperatures in the last week have ranged between minus 2C to minus 10C in one of the worst affected areas, Gaziantep.

With this comes the added risk of hypothermia for any survivors, especially those who could yet remain trapped underneath the rubble.

Over the past weekend, the risk of snow eased, although temperatures have remained several degrees below average.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, between 30-50cm of snow fell across parts of Turkey and Syria. Credit: AP

Consequently, severe overnight frosts and notable wind chill have stuck around, making search efforts challenging.

Up until the quakes, temperatures had generally been above average, due to a mild spell of weather.

The extreme cold has meant people are struggling to adjust and the freezing temperatures from the north will continue to affect Turkey and Syria over the coming days.

As we move through the remainder of this week, temperatures will stay between zero and minus 5C overnight, with maximums trending back towards average - around 5C to 8C.

Looking ahead to the weekend, this looks to be the likely forecast - bringing some good news - although by this stage nearly 14 days will have passed since the earthquake first struck.

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