Winter Emergency

This Winter, harsh temperatures affect millions of vulnerable people across the Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine. It is often the most dreaded season for displaced families facing the cold.

Winter emergency: Some key figures
Millions of displaced people are suffering every year from low temperatures.
3.4 Million
people in need of critical assistance 
700,000
conflict-related displacements have been recorded in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2021
10 million
refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt
13 million
people have had to flee their homes in Ukraine
How many are vulnerable this winter?

There are over 10 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. UNHCR estimates that 3.4 million people are in need of critical assistance to help them prepare for and cope with this winter. For many, this will be their 12th consecutive winter in displacement. 

In Ukraine, more than 11.5 million people have had to flee their homes, and some 6.24 million are internally displaced. High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi warned: “Winters in Ukraine are very harsh and severe, extremely cold. So, we must do everything possible to prevent the cold of winter from becoming the next challenge for people that already have to face so much in their lives.” 

In Afghanistan, conflict has subsided, but violence, fear and deprivation continue to drive Afghans to leave their homes in search of safety. Over 700,000 conflict-related displacements have been recorded since the beginning of 2021 – 80% of them are women and children. 3.5 million people are estimated to be displaced internally due to conflict while more than 2 million are refugees in neighbouring countries like Pakistan. 

What is winter in Ukraine like? 

Temperatures can get as low as -20°C in some parts of the country, and UNHCR has warned that the winter months are going to be a matter of life and death for millions of people affected by the war in Ukraine. UNHCR is scaling up shelter repairs, ensuring proper insulation is installed in homes to battle freezing temperatures. UNHCR is also on the ground distributing heating appliances and providing vital cash assistance for rent and other utilities. 

How are we helping? 

UNHCR is providing refugees and IDP’s with vital winter essentials such as warm clothes, shelters, thermal blankets, fuel and stoves to cook hot meals, and emergency winter payments. UNHCR’s winter assistance is focused on helping families survive in harsh conditions, often in precarious and temporary shelters. Critical needs for core assistance items during winter include blankets, solar lanterns, tent insulation kits and cash for heating, clothing and rent. 

UNHCR leads the refugee response worldwide and has the reach and logistical capabilities to ensure that your donations will have an impact on the lives of the most vulnerable families. 

We need your support 

UNHCR requires USD 250 million urgently requires additional support to provide life-saving winterization assistance for people in need before the onset of the harsh and challenging winter season. As of September 2022, those requirements are only 0.5% funded as opposed to 56% at this time last year. UNHCR plans on reaching all 3.4 million people in dire need with winterization assistance. Implementation will be prioritized based on funding received. Most of the planned interventions will be in the form of cash assistance, with a component of winter items to be distributed inside Lebanon and Syria.