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What We Do
© UNHCR / S. Plotnikov

A Helping Hand

People who are forced to flee their homes and seek safety in another country, or a different part of their own country, invariably need help. Most refugees and internally displaced people leave their homes with little or nothing, and even those with some resources may soon exhaust them. UNHCR and its partners provide vital assistance, which takes many forms. Initially, we provide live-saving emergency assistance in the form of clean water and sanitation and health care as well as shelter materials and other relief items, such as blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans, household goods and sometimes food. Other vital assistance that we provide, or help provide, includes refugee registration, assistance and advice on asylum applications, education and counselling. And UNHCR's assistance extends to people who return home - we arrange transport by air, sea and land and give returnees a leg up in the form of assistance packages. The agency is also involved in local integration or reintegration programmes, including income-generation projects, restoration of infrastructure and other assistance.

Public Health

The health of refugees and other displaced people is a priority for UNHCR.

Food and Nutrition

UNHCR strives to improve the nutritional status of all the people it serves.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Provision of clean water and sanitation services to refugees is of special importance.

HIV and Reproductive Health

Treatment for HIV and access to comprehensive reproductive health services.

Public Health Data

Learn how UNHCR collects and uses public health data in refugee settings.


Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity to young people driven from their homes.





One of the first things that people need after being forced to flee their homes, whether they be refugees or internally displaced, is some kind of a roof over their head.


The recording, verifying, and updating of information on people of concern to UNHCR so they can be protected and UNHCR can ultimately find durable solutions.

Key Initiatives

Through its Key Initiatives, UNHCR's Division of Programme Support and Management (DPSM) shares regular updates on interesting projects that produce key tools, practical guidance and new approaches aimed at moving UNHCR's operations forward.