“We need foodstuffs, we need heating items and we need medical care. We suffer from harsh winters. We don’t have anything, we are powerless,” cry refugees worldwide, UNHCR.
We understand that this winter is going to be difficult for everybody. Between the challenges posed by COVID-19, work, school, family, and the struggle of maintaining a healthy balance, life can be overwhelming. At UMR, we face those challenges as well. But what keeps us going is knowing that our work can significantly impact the lives of people around the world who don’t have access to basic necessities.
When COVID-19 swept the world, no one could have predicted the immense devastation it would cause. Millions of people all across the world are now unemployed, with no hope in sight. Now, as winter approaches, these vulnerable communities are facing an entirely new list of fears: how will I protect myself from the cold? Can I afford to feed my children? Will my family survive this winter?
Life in the Cold
Thousands are forced “to sleep under trees, to shelter in abandoned or unfinished buildings,” according to the UNHCR. “Families are resorting to burning rubbish to try and keep warm, and shield their children from hypothermia.”
Palestinian and Syrian Refugees — Jordan
- For so many refugees, this will be their 10th winter in exile.
- Without a place to call home, they reside in makeshift homes or refugee camps, neither of which offer proper protection from harsh winter weather.
- Jordan is home to ~744,795 refugees (UNHCR)
- Before the pandemic, finding work as a refugee was already a struggle. Now with so many businesses closed, the majority are unable to find consistent work – meaning they have no way to afford coats, blankets, heaters, or any other winter essentials.
- The people in Gaza face harsh winters each year, consisting of subzero temperatures, freezing rain, and snow.
- With~75% of the entire population living in poverty, this means that millions of people are at risk of not making it through the winter.
- In the fall of 2019, Lebanon’s economy collapsed. The cost of everyday essentials skyrocketed and hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, their homes, and their only source of income.
- In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the poverty rate shot from 8% to 23%
- Now, ~850,000 individuals live below the poverty line
- Meaning they are trying to live on less than $14.00 per day
- Now, ~850,000 individuals live below the poverty line
- Then, just when the country thought it couldn’t get any worse, there was a massive explosion in Beirut in early August 2020
- This explosion destroyed more than 300,000 homes
- Leaving entire families to live on the streets or in broken homes, with absolutely no protection from heavy rain, snow, or freezing temperatures.
- Now as the winter approaches, these families will have no protection from freezing temperatures, rain, hail, snow, etc.
- In Yemen, ~24.1 million people – 80% of the population – are at risk for hunger and disease and roughly 14.3 million people are in acute need of assistance
- UMR has been intervening in Yemen for years, providing life-saving food aid as well as medical care. Because of our experience in this country, we also know that winter is an incredibly difficult season for Yemeni’s.
- Disease, malnutrition, starvation, and lack of adequate shelter in conjunction with COVID-19 and harsh weather pose very severe threats to individuals in Yemen.
- Without humanitarian intervention, many Yemeni’s might not survive the winter.
- Due to the pandemic that continues to tear through America, approximately 12.6 million people in the U.S. are unemployed.
- Unfortunately, children are often at the forefront of poverty in the United States
- Approximately 11.9 million children in the U.S. live in poverty, making them the poorest group in the country
- The U.S. is known for very harsh winters; below-freezing temperatures, hail, snow, sleet, and more.
- Without adequate protection from this weather, millions of children across this country are at risk this winter.
- We mustn’t let another child go to sleep freezing this winter.
Rohingya Refugees, Bangladesh
- More than 900,000 Rohingya refugees live in camps south of Cox’s Bazar in Southeast Bangladesh in the world’s largest refugee settlement
- These camps are barren, with most people living in makeshift huts without consistent access to food, water, medical care, blankets, heaters, etc.
- ~1/2 of this refugee population are children suffering from malnutrition and other disease, making them extremely vulnerable to the cold weather.
- Before the pandemic, Egypt was still recovering from extreme economic turmoil
- Then, COVID-19 caused the economy to crash once again.
- 32.5% of the Egyptian population lives in extreme poverty – about 1/3 of the entire population
- Finding work is nearly impossible during these difficult times and families are wondering how they will be able to keep warm, feed their children, and afford to pay rent.
As a humanitarian organization, our mission is to provide immediate relief for vulnerable communities that suffer from malnutrition, disease, poverty, and more. Unfortunately, the number of people in need of intervention is higher than it has ever been.
Right now, the world is united like never before as we all experience the painful effects of this global pandemic, and UMR is asking that we come together this winter to help those who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic.
Winter Kits 2020
By supporting UMR’s Winter Kits initiative to help families survive, you will guarantee families will receive:
- Food Packs
- Winter Jackets
- Fuel Powered Heaters
- Fuel Vouchers