‘Winter packages’ for Syrian refugees

A Syrian child peeks from behind a fence at the Hatay refugee camp situated near the Turkey-Syria border. Photo by: Freedom House / CC BY

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for RefugeesWorld Food Program and Turkish Red Crescent announced new efforts — amounting to roughly $65 million — to help uprooted Syrians across Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

“We are budgeting more than $64 million for winter preparations throughout the region, including for displaced Syrians in their own country,” UNHCR chief spokeswoman for Melissa Fleming said in a press release.

The UNHCR winter package includes stoves, fuel, warm clothing and thermal blankets. Better insulated tents are also being planned; 300 out of 2,500 prefabricated family shelters provided by donors are already set up in camps.

Around 105,000 refugees in Jordan, 94,000 in Lebanon, 32,000 in Iraq and 96,000 Syrians in Turkey are targeted to benefit from the new package from the U.N. agency.

Cash assistance, emergency grants and “basic needs vouchers” will also be provided for Syrians who have been using their own resources or depending on help from other families, to cover urgent needs for sufficient winter protection.

Meanwhile the WFP and Turkish Red Crescent will issue electronic food cards preloaded with $45 to 25,000 refugees in Turkey. The e-card is said to be enough for a basic diet or 2,100 kilocalories per person a day on a monthly basis.

The project will pilot in five camps, one in Kills and four in Hatay, and will be scaled up to match the increasing number of displaced Syrians. In an article, WFP emergency coordinator in Turkey Jean-Yves Lequime and TRC President Ahmet Lütfi Akar explain that not only will the food e-card empower refugees, it will also support the local economy through increased commercial activity.

The announcement comes after the United Kingdom pledged assistance earlier this month, which aims to help 10,000 refugees in Turkey cope with the upcoming winter. But Fleming noted, “We are $12 million short of being able to fund this. The money is urgently required if we are to complete all of our winterization activities on time, prior to the onset of cold weather.”

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About the author

  • Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.

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