Help families survive the most life-threatening time of year – winter.

Winter is coming to the Middle East and North Africa, threatening hard winds and freezing temperatures. These treacherous conditions are disastrous for the millions of displaced people who live in these regions – many of whom have been living below the poverty line for years.

Living in tents, makeshift settlements, urban slums and abandoned buildings, they will struggle to keep warm and dry as cold weather, heavy rain and snow hit the region.

UNHCR estimates that four million people are in need of urgent assistance this winter.  

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Refugees and displaced people are often forced to flee at a moment’s notice and rarely have appropriate winter gear such as warm, durable clothing and heaters. Those who have been displaced for longer, often multiple times, have exhausted their savings and are unable to cover the additional costs that the winter season brings. For them, winter can be a matter of survival.

This year, COVID-19 is making humanitarian needs more acute than ever. The arrival of the pandemic and restrictions to contain its spread threatens jobs and pushes households deeper into poverty.

At the same time, conflict and insecurity continues in countries such as Syria, forcing more people out of their homes and into the cold.

Timely protection is needed now, ahead of winter, before vulnerable families face life-threatening consequences.

Last year, with your support, UNHCR delivered blankets and clothes, made improvements to refugee shelters during the winter season and supported refugees with timely cash assistance. But now, winter is approaching again and many families will face dire situations with the added threat of COVID-19.

UNHCR has worked for months to prepare for the harsh winter conditions. Our work over winter will focus on:

  • Basic survival items – providing thermal blankets, plastic sheets and winter clothes
  • Shelter – improving shelter weatherproofing and repairs, drainage systems and other infrastructure in camps and informal settlements
  • Cash assistance – providing payments to help vulnerable families meet additional heating, insulation and clothing costs during the harsh winter

Now, with even more people in our care, we need your help. Please make an urgent donation to our Winter Survival Fund.

Lamia, 13 in Bekaa Valley | Winter Survival Fund

13-year-old Lamia and her family fled from Syria to Lebanon last year, arriving with no warm clothing or winter provisions. This winter, a basic survival package will help them stay warm and weatherproof their tent. ©UNHCR/A.McConnell


Give a warm home to a refugee this winter


Your donations in action

How Amira and her family are surviving the winter

Cash Assistance Cash Assistance

The power of one heater for the Waleed family

Cash Assistance Cash Assistance

Two flat-pack boxes changing the lives of refugees around the world

Even basic supplies can be a lifeline for families

Supplies Supplies

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