Winter Survival

67-year-old Shakiba and her husband Hassan fled their home in war-torn Syria six years ago.

Every winter brings new worries for her and her husband, who is 83 and in poor health. Last year, they had to be rescued after becoming trapped in their shelter by heavy snowfall.

Photo: © UNHCR / Houssam Hariri

Help displaced families across the Middle East like Shakiba and her husband survive the most life-threatening time of year – winter.

Emergency winter payment

so refugees can afford what they need to keep warm during winter (like fuel and electricity).
Essential supplies icon

Full winter kit

including high thermal blankets, sleeping bags and plastic sheets, to prepare for winter.

Kitchen set

to cook warm meals.

How is winter affecting displaced families across the Middle East?

Your kindness this winter could make all the difference.

Many displaced families are living in informal tented settlements or unfinished buildings, in flimsy homes that provide little protection from the cold and damp. They are especially vulnerable as temperatures plummet below zero and winter storms wreak havoc in camps and settlements.

A small donation, will allow displaced families across the Middle East to reinforce their homes, buy warm winter clothes, food, medicine and fuel to help survive the winter months.

 

How many displaced people need help this winter?

UNHCR estimates that four million people need urgent help this winter across the Middle East region. A majority of those that need life-saving assistance come from Syria and Iraq.

What is UNHCR doing to help displaced families to stay warm?

UNHCR has worked for months to prepare for the harsh winter conditions. Our work will focus on:

  1. Cash assistance – providing payments to help vulnerable families meet additional heating, insulation and clothing costs during the harsh winter.
  2. Basic survival items – providing thermal blankets, plastic sheets and winter clothes.
  3. Winter shelter improving shelter weatherproofing and repairs, drainage systems and other infrastructure in camps and informal settlements.
What impact has COVID-19 had on displaced families in winter?

For many, this will be the tenth consecutive winter in displacement, with families facing even greater hardships this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact.

Most of the aid will be in the form of cash assistance, with some winter items. Preventative measures will also be taken, like insulating and repairing shelters and improving drainage in camps.

How many Syrians need help this winter?

UNHCR aims to assist 1.4 million internally displaced Syrian families with life-saving assistance.

Why are Syrians still fleeing?

With the war ongoing and bombs still falling, it’s very dangerous for families in Syria. Millions have lost their homes, communities and loved ones, so are often unwilling – or unable – to risk the journey back. In some areas, conflict has abated, but returns are not yet possible as buildings and utilities have been completely destroyed, and threats such as mines need to be cleared.

Where can I access the latest data and reports?

UNHCR Winter Plan – for the latest on UNHCR’s relief work to help displaced families across the Middle East during the winter months.

In some mountainous areas of Iraq, especially in the Kurdistan Region where many Syrian refugees reside, temperatures can drop to below freezing during winter months

When explosions struck their hometown of Qamlishi, Syria in October 2019, Hadeel and her husband Suar – along with their children – were forced to flee.

After a harrowing journey of more than 200 kilometres, they reached safety in Bardarash Camp, where they’ve received shelter, winter supplies and other assistance from UNHCR and its partners. 

During winter 2019-2020, over 100,000 families like Hadeel and Suar’s received winter cash assistance in Iraq. UNHCR’s winter assistance is vital to ensuring that thousands of displaced families across the Middle East are equipped with the necessary resources to survive winter’s harsh conditions.

Photo: © UNHCR / Firas Al-Khateeb

 

When explosions struck their hometown of Qamlishi, Syria in October 2019, Hadeel and her husband Suar – along with their children – were forced to flee.

After a harrowing journey of more than 200 kilometres, they reached safety in Bardarash Camp, where they’ve received shelter, winter supplies and other assistance from UNHCR and its partners. 

During winter 2019-2020, over 100,000 families like Hadeel and Suar’s received winter cash assistance in Iraq. UNHCR’s winter assistance is vital to ensuring that thousands of displaced families across the Middle East are equipped with the necessary resources to survive winter’s harsh conditions.

Photo: © UNHCR / Firas Al-Khateeb

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