“Never have I seen such levels of deprivation and desperation. It is unconscionable that so many people have been left with so little for so long. They need and deserve much more support.”
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
The earthquakes that struck near the Türkiye-Syria border in February 2023 only brought more suffering for families that have endured crisis after crisis.
Countries such as Türkiye, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt have generously hosted Syrian refugees for years. But these countries are facing their own economic pressures. Now, Syrian refugees are being pushed even deeper into hunger and poverty.
Khadra, a Syrian refugee and single mother in Lebanon, relies on UNHCR's cash assistance to cover some of her necessities, including bills, rent and food.
Khadra, a 50-year-old widow and Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, is forced to search through the garbage for something to feed her family - usually rice and bulgur wheat. It's often rancid and infested with mites.
"I take it outside, under the sun, then I add salt," she says. "I go through it grain by grain. I pick out the worms and the pebbles. In the end, I cook it for my children."
Sometimes, if she's lucky, Khadra can cook with the fat the butcher throws away. When she has a little money, she buys stale bread, softening it with water.
Khadra lives in an informal refugee settlement in northern Lebanon, sharing one room with her five sons, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. She currently owes three months' rent and lives in constant fear of eviction.
Every year, life gets harder for Khadra. Lebanon, which hosts the largest number of refugees per capita, is facing an economic crisis. With prices skyrocketing, many refugee families are unable to afford the simplest foods, like rice and potatoes - in fact, 90 per cent rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
Khadra receives cash assistance from UNHCR, which she spends on gas for cooking. She struggles to cover her other expenses - rent, food, water, medicine. Adnan, her 15-year-old son, works long hours selling tissues on the street but only earns about $3 per day.
Please donate now to send urgent aid to Syrian refugees like Khadra.
UNHCR is on the ground in Syria and neighbouring countries such as Türkiye and Lebanon, providing life-saving supplies, shelter, healthcare and protection services. But we need your help to continue.
Your gift can provide cash assistance to help families cover basic survival costs like rent and medicine.
Your gift can provide essential items like mattresses, blankets and kitchenware.
Your gift can rehabilitate schools to provide children with a brighter future.
Baby Khodor spent his first weeks in an emergency shelter. Please donate now to send help to Syrians who have endured crisis after crisis.
After 12 years, Syria remains the world’s largest refugee crisis. More than 5.3 million Syrians are still displaced as refugees abroad, while 6.8 million Syrians are displaced inside their own country. The vast majority of refugees have sought protection in neighbouring countries, primarily in Türkiye, Lebanon and Jordan. Germany is the largest non-neighbouring host country, with more than 620,000 Syrian refugees.
The Syrian refugee crisis is the result of civil war which broke out in March 2011 and forced millions of Syrian families to flee their homes. More than a decade on, the number of Syrian refugees has hardly declined and almost 15 million people need humanitarian assistance.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.