This winter, spare a thought for refugees

On a trip to Egypt with UNHCR David Morrissey met those forced to flee.  


©UNHCR/Pedro Costa Gomes

Late in 2019, before COVID-19 became a part of our everyday, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador David Morrissey travelled to Egypt, where he met refugees from Syria.  

Across the region, UNHCR estimates that a staggering 3.12 million displaced Syrians need urgent support this winter. Camps in Iraq see temperatures plunge, while many settlements in Lebanon face snowstorms and flooding. These storms and high winds can be terrifying for families huddling together in tents and shelters.



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In Cairo, David met Mohammed and his wife Muna who fled Syria. Muna lost a leg when a shell hit their house in Damascus in 2015. Shrapnel wounded Mohammed in the back.  

David notes, “They both live with pain and can no longer work. So their son Omran, who is 14, has spent the last four years supporting them. He works as a delivery boy in Cairo, pulling 11-hour shifts six days a week. That’s what war can do: rob a wife of a limb, a husband of his livelihood and a son of his childhood.” 

There are over 70 million forcibly displaced people around the world and that number has surged in the last few years due to conflict, instability and climate change. That’s why we need to keep taking action to help. Every one of us has a role to play, a voice to raise.  So, this new year, make your resolution to take action, no matter how small. 

This Winter, UK for UNHCR is striving to help displaced families survive bitterly cold conditions in camps and settlements. Public support will help families access essential relief items such as high-thermal blankets, plastic sheets and warm clothing, as well as kits to help with repairing and waterproofing refugee shelters. 

This article was originally published in The Liverpool Echo. 

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