IOM Ramps Up Winter Assistance for Displaced in Syria, Iraq

Syria, Iraq - In anticipation of upcoming winter months in the Middle East and North Africa, IOM has begun the implementation of its 2015-2016 ‘Winter Assistance Plans for Populations Affected by the Syrian and Iraqi Crises.’

While the winter climate in these countries tends to be milder, some areas, especially those in high-altitude locations, can reach temperatures below freezing and experience prolonged snowfall, heavy rains, and strong storms threatening vulnerable populations, particularly those living in substandard shelters. Due to the ongoing violence, there has been an increase in sudden displacement, with many families living in makeshift shelters with little protection from the weather.

Last year’s dire winter conditions, which affected hundreds of thousands internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, highlighted the continuous need for IOM and its partners to implement a wide range of winter activities between October and February/March.

These include provision of shelter weatherproofing kits, replacement of damaged tents, distribution of winter clothes, winter non-food items kits (including stoves, coal, and blankets), fuel vouchers, and unconditional cash grants.

IOM is appealing for USD 83.5 million to help 1.5 million beneficiaries through the winter of 2015-16. The funds will help around 904,000 IDPs in Syria, through IOM teams operating from in Damascus, Jordan, and Turkey, as well as 175,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, together with 312,000 IDPs in Iraq. So far, IOM has only secured only USD 17.3 million – an 80% shortfall.

“Unless donors come forward now, the timely procurement of vital supplies that Syrian and Iraqi IDPs will need to survive the winter months will not be possible,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Emergencies and Operations. “Underfunding could have disastrous results for the civilian population in Syria and neighbouring countries,” he added.

For more information, please contact the Syria Crisis Coordination Team at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 7179 946, Email: