Five years ago, Samira and Khalid were happy newlyweds, their thoughts occupied by moving into their new home and plans to start a family. Even as conflict took hold of Syria, they stood their ground. Until a missile hit their house.

“When your house collapses, you can’t think of collecting any items before you leave. You just run away,” said Khalid.

The couple fled to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where they had no other option but to shelter in an unfinished building – with no insulation, toilets, running water, or even doors. They used an old mattress to block the entryway.

Last winter, both Samira and Khalid fell seriously ill due to their poor living conditions. Samira was hospitalised with asthma, and Khalid developed heart problems.

“When your house collapses, you can’t think of collecting any items before you leave. You just run away,” said Khalid.

“Winter here is very different than Damascus,” says Samira. “It’s very, very cold here, particularly with the snow and wind.”

Though their life is hard, Khalid and Samira are grateful to have each other. © UNHCR/ D. Azia

As part of UNHCR’s extensive winter aid response, Khalid and Samira have received a life-saving shelter renovation. They now have proper windows, doors, insulation, plumbing and sanitation facilities. UNHCR has also given them emergency winter cash assistance through the Lifeline program.

Life for the couple is nothing like they had once envisioned, but they draw strength from each other and do their best to stay positive.

“What keeps us going is that we love each other so much,” says Samira.

Vulnerable Syrian refugees need your help to survive another brutal winter. Please donate to the Lifeline appeal today to provide them with heating, warm clothing, and shelter materials.
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UNHCR External Relations Associate Tatiana visited Khalid and Samira at home to speak with them about how UNHCR could help them with their winter needs. © UNHCR/ D. Azia

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