This winter, search beyond the headlines

Who is a


Who is a refugee?

We too often hear about refugees as headlines and numbers, not human beings. Refugees have families, memories, histories, hopes and fears.

Refugees are loving mums, doting dads, caring sons and daughters, supportive friends, and so much more.

But right now, winter is fast approaching, and millions of refugees and displaced families will face sub-zero temperatures and deadly conditions. From Afghanistan to Ukraine. Jordan to Syria. Many families lack the essentials they need to survive another brutal winter. Tents and makeshift shelters offer little protection from the freezing wind, rain and snow.

Your support could help provide blankets to keep loved ones warm. Fuel to keep the fire burning. Emergency cash payments to buy what families need most. A little support from you could be life changing for refugees and displaced families this winter.

Please donate today to help refugees and displaced families survive.

Fajer & Nour

“Fajer is more than a mum to Nour. She is a playtime superstar. The best hugger in the world. They’re best friends.”

Fajer and Nour fled unimaginable violence in Syria in 2012 and found safety in Jordan. Sadly, Nour’s father passed away a few years later. Fajer was left to parent and raise Nour alone.

They live in a small flat which becomes near impossible to keep warm in the coldest months. Assistance from UNHCR has meant they could survive previous winters. But as another bitter winter approaches, your support could help provide families like Fajer and Nour’s with a lifeline. Fuel for heating and cooking. Clothes and blankets for lifesaving warmth. Or vital emergency payments to help families buy what they need most.


Jawad is a dad first and foremost. He is doing everything to keep his children safe.

He and his family live in the incredibly remote and hilly Bamyan province in Afghanistan. His country has been hit with crisis after crisis, and now basics like flour and oil to bake bread, are unaffordable.

When winter hits, the ice and snow covers the ground for as far as the eye can see. The freezing cold is unbearable. This winter Jawad* will struggle to afford food to feed his children, and fuel to keep them warm at night.

Your support could mean displaced families like Jawad’s don’t have to choose between food and warmth this winter.

* Name changed for protection reasons

Beyond The Headlines

Join celebrity photographer, Pattie Boyd, to go ‘Beyond The Headlines’ with Alexandra, Amany, Hamzeh, Najeem, Maysara and Vera. They have all found safety in the UK after being forced to flee their homes.

They joined Pattie for a photoshoot with a difference – each photograph features genuine news headlines that relate to their personal story.

Teach AI

Whether we like it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming part of our future. But it’s clear, it still has a lot to learn. Too often, the way AI represents refugees is one-dimensional and can reinforce stereotypes.

This winter, you can help to change this.

Over the coming months, hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced families will face sub-zero temperatures. UNHCR is on the ground providing lifesaving aid and essentials to help families survive the freezing cold winter months.


Emergency shelter

to protect families from winter storms

Fuel and heating

to provide warmth, hot meals and dry wet clothing this winter

Emergency cash payments

to help families buy what they need to survive


How does winter impact the lives of refugees and displaced people?

Freezing winter weather is a threat as dangerous as the conflict that forced refugee families to flee their homes. In countries like Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, displaced families are living in bomb-damaged, unheated homes, or flimsy makeshift shelters. They have little or no protection from the icy winds and torrential rain that’s on its way.

How many are vulnerable this winter?

This winter millions of refugees and internally displaced families face even more difficulties as they try to keep their fragile homes warm and dry, and their families healthy during the harsh winter months. In Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt there are millions of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). In Syria alone, UNHCR estimates that 2.7 million people are in urgent need of winter assistance. In total, UNHCR estimates that over 4.5 million people are in need of critical assistance to help them prepare for and cope with this winter. For many, this will be their 13th consecutive winter in displacement.

In Ukraine, millions of people have had to flee their homes, including some 5 million people who are internally displaced. High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi warned: “Winters in Ukraine are very harsh and severe, extremely cold. So, we must do everything possible to prevent the cold of winter from becoming the next challenge for people that already have to face so much in their lives.”

In Afghanistan families are experiencing a third year of crippling economic decline and the aftermath of decades of conflict and natural disasters such as floods and drought. This year several powerful earthquakes struck Afghanistan – the latest tragedies to hit a country which has faced multiple humanitarian disasters in recent times.

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan shows no signs of easing and, at mid-2023, some 9.7 million Afghans remained displaced, including over 3.3 million internally displaced people.

What is UNHCR doing to help?

UNHCR’s winter assistance is focused on helping families survive in harsh conditions, often in precarious and temporary shelters. It’s on the ground providing vital winter essentials such as warm clothes, tent insulation kits, thermal blankets, solar lanterns, stoves to cook hot food, and emergency winter payments for heating 

UNHCR leads the refugee response worldwide and has the reach and logistical capabilities to ensure that your donations will have an impact on the lives of the most vulnerable families. 

What’s winter in Ukraine like?
Temperatures can get as low as -25°C in some parts of the country, and UNHCR has warned that the winter months are going to be a matter of life and death for millions of people affected by the war in Ukraine. UNHCR is scaling up shelter repairs, ensuring proper insulation is installed in homes to battle freezing temperatures. UNHCR is also on the ground distributing heating appliances and providing vital cash assistance for rent and other utilities.
What about Afghanistan?
Monthly temperatures can reach as low as -15°C in Afghanistan. Poverty in Afghanistan is endemic – families are extremely vulnerable to sudden shocks of cold winter weather and people can die within a day without adequate protection from the elements. Most internally displaced families have fled without adequate clothing and reside in makeshift shelters that are extremely vulnerable to rain, snow and freezing temperatures.

The winter response is one of UNHCR’s top priorities for the coming months. Your financial support will help winter-proof houses and shelters, maintain cash assistance during the cold months when it is the most crucially needed, and provide basic winter emergency items such as blankets, thermoses, shelter kits for waterproofing, solar lanterns and other necessities to help some of the most vulnerable families through the harsh winter months.

How can I help?

There are many ways you can take action to help displaced families face the harsh winter. You can hold a fundraiser, share this page with friends and family to help raise awareness or donate to help provide lifesaving aid and assistance. To refugees, your support means survival.

Teach AI

Challenge the Stereotype
Change the Picture

Support Refugees

This winter, help provide shelter and warmth

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