Media release

UK for UNHCR launches appeal with David Morrissey to help displaced Syrian and Afghan families survive the coming winter

Photo: © UNHCR/Paul Wu

03 December 2021. UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s national charity, is calling on the UK public to help the UN Refugee Agency deliver aid to displaced Syrian and Afghan families across the Middle East and in Afghanistan before the worst of winter hits.  

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and actor David Morrissey is supporting the charity’s appeal, urging people to think of displaced families this winter and donate to UK for UNHCR through a series of hard-hitting adverts running on social media.  

Cold weather is a huge risk and worry for displaced families across Afghanistan and the Middle East. Heavy rain and snowstorms wreak havoc, especially for those people living in tents and makeshift shelters. Combined with low temperatures, refugees are more vulnerable to serious illness during winter.  

More than 680,000 Afghans fled their homes this year due to the upsurge in insecurity and violence, and now face ongoing uncertainty, food scarcity and a health system at breaking point. In addition, many fled during the summer months with just the clothes they were wearing and are now unprepared for the harsh winter, when temperatures are regularly as low as minus 12oC and can drop to minus 25oC.  

Meanwhile, Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are facing another harsh winter in tents, makeshift shelters and unfinished buildings. In Lebanon, the ongoing economic and fuel crisis has pushed thousands of refugees into extreme poverty, meaning that even more families are struggling to buy heating fuel, warm clothing for their children and basic essentials. 

Nagham (9) and her family fled the conflict Syria when her father was killed; she was just 8 months old. Having found safety in Jordan, Nagham now fears the weather rather than fighting:  

“I’m scared of winter, it is so cold. Often we don’t have any food. Sometimes we just have to sit and wait until the money comes the next day.” she says. 

UNHCR is delivering emergency support to families like Nagham’s, including blankets, tent insulation kits and emergency cash grants so that families can buy fuel, warm clothing and food.  

Actor David Morrissey, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, says: “I’ve met some of the families who have lost everything and are facing a tough winter ahead. UNHCR is providing refugees with tent insulation kits, blankets and emergency winter grants to help protect them from freezing temperatures. Any support you can give will help a family keep warm this winter.” 

Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive of UK for UNHCR says: “It’s simply heart-breaking to think of a child being scared of the cold. Bitter winter days are no fun for anyone but for vulnerable displaced families they can be literally life-threatening. UNHCR is ready to support these families in Afghanistan and across the Middle East – but we need help to reach more people. Help us deliver aid before the worst of winter hits.” 

People can find out more about UNHCR’s work in Afghanistan and with Syrian refugees and to donate to UK for UNHCR online at or by calling 0800 029 3883.  


Notes to Editor 

You can view David Morrissey’s video appeal here.

About UK for UNHCR 

UK for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner for the UK, building solidarity, fostering partnerships and raising funds in the UK to help deliver global humanitarian relief for refugees through UNHCR’s work.  

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. It delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. 

UK for UNHCR is a registered charity in England and Wales (registered charity number 1183415). 


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