A Young girl stands in front of her tent while it snows in Beqaa valley.
UNHCR / Houssam Hariri
Location icon Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine

Winter looms for displaced families

Winter will add to the suffering for refugees and displaced families in Europe, the Middle East and central Asia.

Last winter, your support helped UNHCR teams deliver blankets and clothes, repair shelters and provide timely cash assistance for refugees. However, as temperatures start to drop in the Northern Hemisphere, millions of displaced families are facing another freezing winter far from home and desperately need your support.

Ukraine

For seventy-five-year-old Valentyna, whose home was destroyed earlier this year, UNHCR’s winter assistance will be crucial.

The roof, walls and windows of Valentyna’s house were all damaged when the area she lives in was targeted soon after the war broke out. She struggled to keep warm and is worried the upcoming winter will be even worse.

“It was cold in March. I slept with a coat, in a warm hat. At night it was minus eight degrees,” she said.

UNHCR is working to assist more than 8,000 families in Ukraine with home repairs and insulation before the harsh winter sets in.

“The needs across Ukraine are enormous, especially with the winter coming. And this requires a collective response so people like Valentyna can have a warm home to live in during the winter,” says Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR Representative in Ukraine.

Aid distribution in Ukraine
UNHCR Ukraine
UNHCR is providing people forced to flee the war in Ukraine with winter supplies and helping to reinforce homes and shelters against the harsh weather.

Jordan

With Jordan’s winter temperatures sometimes dropping below zero, life is not easy for refugees like Shatha and her family, who live in Azraq Camp.

Shatha fled her home in Homs, Syria, five years ago with her family. She is the sole caretaker for her elderly father and mother, as well as her brother who has intellectual and physical disabilities.

Winter is particularly challenging for Shatha. Like many other refugees in the camp, her family lives in a small, prefabricated caravan which often floods or is damaged by heavy wind and rain.

“The camp is in the desert, and it gets really cold here, the weather is harsh and it’s very hard to conduct daily life in the winter,” Shatha said.

Shatha has struggled financially because of limited livelihood opportunities. Finding a job close to home so she can support her family with their essential needs has been challenging.

“It’s hard to find the means to support my family with medicine, winter clothes, and slippers…If we had not received winter assistance…we would have struggled a lot.”

Last winter, Shatha and her family received UNHCR’s winter cash assistance, which helped them buy winter clothing and other necessities such as medicine.

This winter, families like Shatha’s need your support once again to get them through the toughest time of the year.

Shatha, 35, and her father Abu Safwan, 75, receive their winter cash assistance in Azraq Camp.
© UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle
Shatha, 35, and her father Abu Safwan, 75, receive their winter cash assistance in Azraq Camp. © UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle

Lebanon

In Lebanon, Syrian refugees like Majida dread the arrival of winter. Majida lives in a makeshift shelter in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley with her four children. During the coldest months of the year, she struggles to keep her children safe and dry. Last winter they slept on damp mattresses, which they tried to dry out in the weak sunshine after every downpour.

This year threatens far worse hardship as Lebanon grapples with an economic crisis that has forced almost all the country’s refugee population into extreme poverty.

“Last year, we had some access to fuel. But this year, with fuel shortages and high prices, I cannot even afford wood,” Majida says.

“I am worried about how I will be able to keep my children warm and buy food and clothes for them. Everything is so expensive.”

UNHCR is helping refugees rehabilitate and weatherproof their shelters before the winter rains begin. UNHCR is also providing solar lamps and other basic household items to help families survive. 

Majida Shehada Ibrahim, a 36 years old Syrian refugee, a mother of 4 children, her husband died in 2013.
© UNHCR/Haidar Darwish
Syrian refugee Majida, 36, in her shelter in Askar refugee settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. She lives there with her four children. © UNHCR/Haidar Darwish

Across Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East, UNHCR is providing vital winter assistance to refugees and displaced people like Valentyna, Shatha and Majida.


Please donate today to give refugees safety and warmth this winter.

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“If I had not received the winter cash assistance, I would have been helpless”

As temperatures plunge in the Northern Hemisphere, UNHCR is stepping up support to help refugees.

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