In Pakistan, many communities have no access to local markets to purchase essential items in the winter months. Over two to three months, heavy snowfall covers the land; this can be up to 4 feet in height and blocks countless routes and roads. This cuts entire villages off from the wider region, leaving them to fend for themselves.
With many people having no access to winter clothing, fuel and blankets, the winter months can be a perilous time for those disadvantaged in Pakistan.
As a result of the ongoing Syrian civil war, many thousands of refugees have fled across the border to seek safety in Lebanon. In winter, this situation becomes life-threatening as temperatures plummet below zero, forcing refugees to seek shelter in overcrowded apartments, building sites, and garages. In high-altitude areas especially, displaced families are at serious risk of death from exposure to the harsh weather.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are some startling figures: “70.5% of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line, 4.6% of children are underweight, 54% require continued support for the restoration and rehabilitation of shelters and 41% live in precarious and unsafe housing, including tents and improvised camps within slums.”
Due to the ongoing conflict in Palestine, it is estimated that 89,000 people have been internally displaced. These people live in a variety of makeshift dwellings, with around a quarter living in the rubble of their destroyed homes.
These people are in a continual state of vulnerability, as they are always on the brink of being evicted from their current place of residence. Purchasing winter items and storing them for the colder months is a huge concern, with many surviving solely on aid to make it through the winter.
With no end to the Syrian civil war in sight, more than 5 million refugees and another 6.5 million internally displaced people will need humanitarian aid this winter. As temperatures begin to fall and the daylight hours shorten, these people are worried about how they will survive the bitter cold.
Money raised through Penny Appeal’s Winter Emergency appeal helps pay for gas heaters, food and shelter that can bring comfort during the harshest days and nights; for the oldest, youngest and weakest, this aid can be the difference between life and death.
Many areas of Bangladesh suffer from abject poverty and food insecurity. At the moment, the Rohingya crisis is putting unprecedented strain on the country’s ability to deliver aid. As the winter months draw in, the 600,000 refugees who now reside in the border regions are particularly vulnerable.
With hundreds of thousands of people already in need of aid, the winter period will bring further complications to this problem. In addition to food, healthcare and shelter provisions, winter emergency items will also need to be distributed through already stretched networks.
Yemen already faces the ongoing crises of conflict and cholera. As a result of this ongoing conflict, infrastructure has been badly damaged, hospitals and care facilities have been destroyed, leaving the people of Yemen with little access to aid or even basic medical assistance.
As countless people are now homeless due to violence, the winter months will undoubtedly bring more challenges, with around 70% of Yemenis already facing the reality of widespread famine.
The number of homeless people in the UK has been on the rise since 2011, with data showing an upturn of 134% between 2010 and 2016, and at the same time, the number of households living in temporary accommodation went up by 60%.
Forecasters have predicted this winter to be one of the coldest since 2013, with temperatures set to drop below 10c. The winter is a very difficult time for homeless people in the UK, with most unable to purchase warm clothing, food and maintain household heating to cope with the lower temperatures.