Helping refugees like Amira survive the cold winter
© Helping refugees like Amira survive the cold winter

Winter storms threaten Syrian refugee families

Winter storms batter Lebanon

Fierce winds and torrential rain are putting the lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon at grave risk. 

Many are living in informal tented settlements, in flimsy homes that provide little protection from the elements. So far, more than 66 settlements have been damaged with 15 having been completely flooded or collapsed.

Over 50,000 people, living in 850 settlements, remain at risk of flooding.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is on the ground, doing everything we can to help people relocate and get emergency lifesaving aid to those affected. But we need your help.


Syrian refugees face another cold winter

With the war in Syria now in its eighth year, over 1.7 million men, women and children across Lebanon and Jordan remain unable to return home.

They are living in makeshift shelters and in unfinished or derelict buildings with little to protect them from the bitterly cold winds. The lives of the most vulnerable: young children, pregnant women and the elderly, are at grave risk from hypothermia, frostbite and potentially fatal respiratory diseases.

Without adequate shelter, they will feel every blast of icy wind. The rain and snow will get into their clothes and shoes and, if their shelter is unheated, they will be unable to dry them out.


How UNHCR is helping families this winter

This winter, there is a critical demand for assistance from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Thanks to the generosity of our donors we are distributing life-saving winter kits to vulnerable Syrian families. The kit contains essentials to help families through the winter such as a heating stove, thermal blankets and plastic sheeting they can use to insulate their shelters.

UNHCR is also pioneering a highly effective approach to helping Syrian refugee families: Emergency winter payments. Giving the most vulnerable families a small cash grant means they can get through the hardest times and make the choices about what to buy that are right for their families. When temperatures drop, they can buy fuel. If their children become ill, they can buy medicines.

Research has shown that in countries where UNHCR has pioneered emergency payments, people have spent them on the basic items they need to survive such as food, heating and shelter. What’s more, with a little money in their pockets people are far less likely to have to take desperate measures such as borrowing money (which can lead to a cycle of debt), skipping meals or taking their children out of school. Another benefit is that emergency cash payments mean more money flows into the local economy, thus helping to reduce the potential for conflict between refugees and host communities.

How YOU can help Syrian families this winter

With the Syrian war now entering its eighth year, and with many families having lived in exile and been unable to earn a living for much of that time, your support today is even more crucial. You could not only help families through what is likely to be another bitterly cold winter, you’ll be giving back to them the independence and dignity that war and exile has stolen from them.