How USA for UNHCR donors help refugees survive winter

The last several years have been nothing short of miserable for Hayel, Wisal and their young family.

Fleeing from town to town in Syria, they were internally displaced five times — seeking to escape the barrel bombs and gunfire wreaking havoc on their beloved country. As prices soared, they couldn’t afford to buy food. It was painful to watch their children go to bed hungry each night.

Hayel and Wisal’s decision to leave Syria became inevitable in 2013 when the shelling reached their doorstep and they could no longer protect their two children.

"We were in a panic because of the children. We were terrified to lose our children."

Wisal was pregnant when they fled to Lebanon, where Hayel’s parents had resettled 18 months earlier. Travelling by bus and car they moved slowly across Syria, as fighting forced them to stop at checkpoints and dodge airstrikes.

Miraculously, the family arrived safely and found shelter in an informal refugee settlement. Although they had no money or food, they were not alone thanks to support from USA for UHNCR donors.


© UNHCR / Sebastian Rich

Once registered as refugees with UNHCR, the family received essential assistance, including mattresses and blankets. Wisal was able to safely give birth to the couple’s daughter Maisaa, who is now 2, in a hospital. They received further support when Wisal had problems with her appendix and needed additional care.

Hayel and Wisal are very grateful for the support they’ve received, but their family is still at risk. Their “home,” a drafty and leaky tent, will not safeguard them against what UNHCR weather experts are forecasting to be a brutally cold and stormy winter.

Thanks to generous donors, families like Hayel and Wisal’s will be provided with relief items. This includes plastic tarps and thermal insulation to keep their tent warm and dry — along with blankets, warm clothes, shoes and fuel for cooking and heating. Donor support will help Hayel protect his family.

"What I care about the most is to keep my family under one roof where the children can be warm, where they can eat, where they can study and be safe."

Lebanon is hosting Hayel, Wisal, their three children and more than a million Syrian refugees — 25 percent of the population of this small country. They live on the margins of society in informal settlements and run-down or unfinished buildings. But in partnership with generous USA for UNHCR donors, the UN Refugee Agency will extend a hand of help and hope to them.

Here’s how you can help …
By becoming a USA for UNHCR monthly donor, you will help families like Hayel and Wisal’s survive this winter, be safe and protected year round and keep hope alive for more peaceful days ahead. Make your first monthly gift today.


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