Syrian refugees face a bitter winter

Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon and Jordan are bearing the brunt of winter’s cold. Families struggle to stay warm and need your support and prayers to survive.

By Lauren Fisher, Denise Koenig, and Sevil Omer, World VIsion U.S.
Published January 6, 2014 at 10:45am PST

Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon and Jordan are getting a bitter taste of the days ahead: winter.

The dead of winter

“I don’t know how we will survive,” says Ali, a father of four in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. He spoke with World Vision in October.

Ali used white plastic tarps to drape across the wooden beams of his shelter, a flimsy barrier against the elements. The dirt floor was ice cold. He feared winter and the inability to protect his family from it.

The coldest months are now upon the region, and families desperately seek heating fuel, stoves, blankets, and other necessities to keep warm and nourished.

“I am a little bit scared,” said Salam, a pregnant mother of a 20-month-old toddler. She and her family live in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp.

Brutal conditions: An especially serious threat to newborns

Near the northern border with Syria, Za’atari is home to nearly 120,000 Syrian refugees — twice the number it was designed to accommodate.

“Every woman who is pregnant here is a bit scared,” Salam says. “The most frightening part is afterwards, with a newborn — the cold weather, the food, and the condition of the food — and wondering if it will all be okay for the baby.”

“We do not have any warm clothes, no coats or blankets,” says Nura, a Syrian refugee mother of three living in Zarqa, an impoverished area in Jordan. “My children do not even have socks.”

Every affected country stretched thin

More than 2 million people have fled to neighboring countries to escape Syria’s violence. Many are living in tented settlements, camps, or ill-equipped apartments that offer little protection from the cold. Within Syria, 6.5 million displaced people face similar challenges.

The Jordanian and Lebanese governments are coping with the crisis as best they can. Everyone and everything caught up in the Syrian crisis is stretched thin — there’s never enough.

Pray with us

Please join us in prayer for refugee families like Salam and Ali who are at risk this winter:

Lord, have mercy on those who have no warm place to stay. Provide desperate families with ample resources to stay warm and survive the winter cold. Infuse aid organizations with extra supplies to meet the myriad needs. Lord, we trust in You.

Learn more

  • Learn more about the crisis in Syria and neighboring countries: Read our FAQs for an overview of the conflict in Syria, the refugee situation in Lebanon, and World Vision’s response.
  • Use this guide for more ways to pray for children and families in the troubled region.
  • Check out our continued coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis on the World Vision Blog and in World Vision Magazine.

Help now


  • At least 6.5 million people have been displaced within Syria, and more than 2 million have fled to neighboring countries, many with little more than the clothes on their backs.
  • The winter months in the region are especially brutal as families lack the necessary shelter, clothing, fuel, and food to survive this coldest time of the year.
  • World Vision continues responding to the crisis with hygiene kits, Child-Friendly Spaces, and supplies to help refugee families get through the winter.

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