BEIRUT, Lebanon (UNHCR) – With millions of vulnerable Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people in the region still in need of assistance this winter, the UN Refugee Agency today launched a public appeal for contributions to its winter programmes that aim to protect refugees and vulnerable host communities […]
Lebanon / Syrian Refugees / A Syrian man tries to warm himself as snow falls in the Terbol tented settlement in the Bekaa Valley, on 11 December 2013. The Alexa storm has brought severe weather to Lebanon and much of the Middle East, affecting tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. / UNHCR / A. McConnell / December 2013
BEIRUT, Lebanon (UNHCR) – With millions of vulnerable Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people in the region still in need of assistance this winter, the UN Refugee Agency today launched a public appeal for contributions to its winter programmes that aim to protect refugees and vulnerable host communities in neighbouring countries from the cold months that lie ahead.
Through the campaign’s online platform – https://donate.unhcr.org/gu-en/winter – individuals can make contributions starting from US$ 50 to help UNHCR provide refugees and vulnerable host communities with essential items to survive the cold season.
“We know from experience that temperatures will fall below freezing and that underprivileged Lebanese families and close to one million refugees in Lebanon will need our help to stay warm,” said UNHCR’s Representative in Lebanon Mireille Girard, “any contributions from individuals who are able to help can make a big difference.”
Winter has already hit hard in Lebanon, with storms bringing hard rain, strong winds, and bitter cold across the country. Some high-altitude towns in the Bekaa and the North have been enveloped in snow.
For the most vulnerable Lebanese and refugees in Lebanon, the costs of winter needs including fuel, warm clothes and nutritious meals are prohibitive. According to a recent UN survey, over 70 percent of refugees in Lebanon live under the poverty line of US$ 3.84 a day, and according to the most recent estimates by the Central Administration for Statistics and the World Bank, nearly one million Lebanese survive on less than US$ 3 a day. One in two Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in substandard shelters like tents, garages, warehouses, unfinished buildings, and animal sheds. They require continuous support to maintain their shelters, especially during winter.
UNHCR’s winter programme is well underway. It includes cash assistance from November to March to enable families in need to purchase fuel and other winter essentials, as well as the distribution of blankets, stoves and materials to weatherproof frail shelters.
“Because of increasing vulnerabilities, the most destitute population in Lebanon often have to resort to negative coping strategies to survive on the little resources they have. They cut down on meals, they stop proper treatment for health issues, and they borrow money to meet their expenses,” said Girard, “our collective support will spare them from having to choose between putting food on the table and staying warm.”
UNHCR estimates that over 850,000 vulnerable refugees and vulnerable Lebanese will be in need of support to survive this winter.
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