As temperatures dipped bellow freezing in the Middle East during December, UNHCR expedited and nearly completed its winter support for millions of Syrian and Iraqi internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees in the region. The first snow of the winter accompanied by strong winds and rain was especially harsh in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, bringing further misery to millions of IDPs and refugees, the majority of whom are living in vulnerable conditions in urban areas in substandard housing and informal settlements.
UNHCR has provided winter assistance to more than 3.24 million Syrian and Iraqi IDPs and refugees (69% of the planned beneficiaries.) Assistance included seasonal cash assistance to meet the winter needs of the vulnerable refugees, core relief items specific to winter, and shelter insulation support, provided in coordination with government agencies, partners, community outreach volunteers, and the broader inter-agency response platforms. UNHCR also started post-distribution monitoring exercises in most of the countries to understand the impact of the programme.