The conflict in Syria is now in its ninth year. Tragically, renewed hostilities and escalations in the conflict continue to drive families from their homes in search of safety.
Many have now been displaced multiple times and lost everything.
At this time of year, Syrian families could face temperatures as low as -10 degrees without proper weather-proof clothing and shelter.
Many families will face additional health risks such as hypothermia as they cannot keep warm and access to health care is limited.
To help deliver emergency relief to families, UNHCR has now launched #BelowZero, a campaign calling on supporters across the UK to donate to its Winter Emergency Appeal.
Public support will help displaced families access essential relief items such as high-thermal blankets, plastic sheets and warm clothing, as well as kits to help with repairing and waterproofing refugee shelters Syrian refugee families are enduring another winter far from home in camps and makeshift settlements, where keeping their children’s shoes and clothes dry is a ‘living nightmare’.
For many this is the ninth consecutive winter they will spend away from home and for some children living in these conditions is all they have ever known the conditions are truly harrowing. No family and least of all child, should ever be subject to such circumstances with few opportunities to earn an income, almost nine out of ten households are indebted and unable to cover basic needs such as food, health and shelter.
At this time of year, Syrian families could face temperatures as low as -10 degrees without proper weather-proof clothing and shelter. In addition, many families will face additional health risks such as hypothermia as they cannot keep warm and access to health care is limited.
UNHCR’s aid efforts include deliveries of core winter relief items such as high-thermal blankets, plastic sheets and warm clothing and repairing and waterproofing refugee shelters.
Aisha and her family live in one of the 850 informal settlements that have sprung up in the Bekaa Valley, in eastern Lebanon, since the start of the war. When winter storms hit refugee settlements in Lebanon last January, icy cold, muddy water flooded into shelters, damaging the precious few clothes and belongings of many families.
Heavy snow closed roads and left thousands of families isolated, while many tents collapsed or blew away in the strong icy winds.
Aisha said: “We were really scared of the storm, my husband had to go on the roof every hour to clear the snow and I was worried he would fall. UNHCR took care of us, giving us blankets, plastic sheeting and a warm stove.”
In response to the storm, UNHCR teams relocated families to dry ground and distributed relief items like blankets and fresh mattresses. Stoves and fuel helped families to warm themselves up, dry their clothes and cook hot meals. Emergency shelter materials helped refugees reinforce their homes against further rain and wind.
How to donate?
· Donate online: www.unhcr.org/belowzero
· Text WARMTH to 70025 to donate £10
How will donations help?
· £6 will buy three warm sleeping mats for a family
· £9 will buy a warm sleeping bag for a family
· £12 will buy a warm winter jacket
· £30 can buy fleece blankets for a family of five
· £57 can cover an emergency winter payment (to help buy fuel, medicine, winter clothing)
· £75 can buy a winter survival kit (blanket, sleeping mat, warm jacket, stove and fuel)
With your support, UNHCR can continue to provide shelter, safety and life-saving aid to
innocent families struggling to survive. Please donate today by phone, text or online – see details below.
For more information visit www.unhcr.org/belowzero