How UNHCR is helping refugees this winter

Refugees flee with few possessions and are often unprepared for winter weather, lacking even the most basic protections against the cold.

But, thanks to our donors, UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency is on the ground helping refugees stay warm, providing protection from the cold, cash assistance, emergency shelter and much more.

Already this winter UNHCR has helped 2.7 million refugees and displaced people struggling to survive the harsh weather.

Here is an update on what UNHCR has accomplished this winter thanks to support from donors:


A displaced young boy sees his reflection in the rising water at Al-Areesha camp.

When late December rains brought heavy flooding to northern Syria, thousands of shelters were flooded. UNHCR responded immediately, replacing damaged tents and distributing emergency winterization kits. Already this year, 2,500 kits have been sent to northern Syria with an additional 2,000 on the way to ensure camps are prepared for the next storm.

Across the country, donor support allowed UNHCR to distribute winterization items like thermal blankets, solar lamps, plastic sheeting and winter clothes to 762,799 displaced people in 2018.


Miriam is a Syrian refugee from Raqqa, who now lives in Douress, an informal settlement in the Bekaa Valley. This area was recently hit hard by winter storms.

In Lebanon, UNHCR is helping refugees through one of the worst winters the country has experienced in years. Thirty-four percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in non-permanent structures that were unprepared for the onslaught of successive storms the season has brought. But thanks donor support, UNHCR is on the ground repairing the damaged shelters and preparing them for the cold months ahead.

By the end of the 2018, UNHCR distributed weatherproofing kits and shelter materials to 28,000 families including 13-year-old Miriam’s family  ensuring they now live in warm and protected shelters.


Winter materials including mats, blankets and gas heaters arrive at Azraq refugee camp.

Staying warm is a serious concern for refugees in Jordan as well, the majority of whom live below the poverty line. Forced to use blankets and scraps of carpet to cover windows and doors in poorly insulated homes, families struggle to keep the cold out, and are in desperate need of assistance.

Thanks to donor support, UNHCR provided that much-needed aid. In 2018, heaters and thermal blankets were distributed to 48,900 people. And 108,539 individuals received cash assistance to help cover the cost of gas refills and shelter maintenance.

Here’s how you can help...

Monthly giving is the best way to ensure UNHCR can provide that assistance to even more people fleeing violence. Please become a monthly donor today and ensure refugees get the help they need this winter and beyond. Together, we can provide warmth, shelter, security and hope for brighter days ahead.

Feb 7 2019
TOPICS News Winter
Back to Gift Store >