Q&A for Syrian Refugees on Winter Assistance Support 2015/2016

 Q&A for Syrian Refugees on Winter Assistance Support 2015/2016

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1. How do I know if I’m eligible to receive winter support for this year by UNHCR?

If you are found to be eligible to receive winter assistance support, UNHCR will send you an SMS notification to your phone starting mid-October2015.

If you recently changed your phone number, please send immediately an SMS to UNHCR to notify your new number (see Q14 to know how).

2. What will I receive and how?

The assistance to be provided will vary depending on the need of the person and or family

found to be eligible and the area of residence in Lebanon.

In case you had been selected, you will be notified by UNHCR by SMS to your phone.

The assistance will be provided in cash through the UNHCR white card.

There will be different SMS’s sent by UNHCR:

  • If you don’t have a white card, you will be informed on:
  • Where and when to go to receive the white cards if you don’t have it
  • If you already have a white card, you will be informed on:
  • How to verify the card and your file case number. Please read carefully the SMS and follow the instructions as you will have to reply immediately to UNHCR by SMS by confirming if you still have the card and the PIN secret number. You don’t have to write your PIN number in the SMS when you reply to UNHCR.

3. If I live in Arsal, will I also receive a white card?

No. Please note that refugees living in Arsal that are found to be eligible will be receiving winter support items instead of the white card. UNHCR will send those eligible for winter in Arsal an SMS to inform them on where and when to go to receive assistance.

This is because there are limited ATM machines available in Arsal.

4. For how long the winter assistance will be provided?

UNHCR winter assistance will be provided from November 2015 until February 2016.

5. How does the UNHCR withe card looks like?

The white card looks like the image on the side:

This card is just a sample and numbers are not from a real case!

6. I heard that some families will also receive some items to help them during the winter, like blankets and stoves, instead of receiving support through the white card. Is this is correct?

Yes, it is possible. Depending on the needs of those found to be eligible, refugees will receive winter assistance in cash through the white card or in kind with specific items. In some cases depending on the needs, some refugees may also receive both.

UNHCR will contact them directly by SMS and/or phone.

Please also note that refugees in Arsal will also receive winter support items instead of the white card.

7. How do I know the SMS is to be trusted?

You can know how to trust the SMS sent by UNHCR from two things:

  • The SMS shows UNHCR as “sender”
  • The file case number of the person eligible for winter assistance will be written at the beginning of the SMS

8. I received the SMS but I didn’t understand the instructions, can I call UNHCR?

Yes. However, UNHCR hotlines operators will guide you to follow the instructions in the SMS, as you will need to confirm the requested information by SMS.

As an alternative, please check online at www.refugees-lebanon.org for the instructions that you need to follow to confirm by SMS to UNHCR that you still have the white card.

9. I received the SMS but I didn’t understand the instructions, can I ask support to other refugees or to refugee volunteers supporting UNHCR?

Yes, of course. You can ask a neighbour, friend or family member to help you understand the SMS sent to you by UNHCR. You can indeed approach a refugee volunteer supporting UNHCR as they can also help.

Please remember that the secret PIN of your white card is confidential; please do not share it with others!

10. I don’t have money to send an SMS, what do I do?

Unfortunately, you have to reply by SMS from the phone that received the SMS message from UNHCR. You cannot use other phones to reply back.

11. When and where will I receive the assistance?

Wait for the SMS that you will be receiving to know when and where the assistance will be provided.

If you recently changed your phone number, please send immediately an SMS to UNHCR to notify your new number (see Q14 to know how).

It may also be that your friend/family didn’t give you the message in case you are sharing your phone with other. Please make sure to check the messages received in your phone regularly.

12. If I’m not eligible, what can I do? Is there any organization other than UNHCR and partners providing winter support?

Maybe, but we are not informed of all assistance available. You may ask the local authorities and associations in your area of residence.

13. My family and I are planning to relocate from our current residence to a colder area; will this help to receive assistance?

Indeed you can relocate if you and your family have the intention to do so. However, you will not receive winter support only because you relocated as the assessment for those found to be eligible for the winter support was done taking into consideration the area of residence at the time of the assessment.

If you relocate to another area, please approach or call the UNHCR Centre close to your residence in order to update your new address.

14. I changed my phone number, how will you contact me?

You should send an SMS to 70262656 by writing your file case number (mentioned in the UN paper), then the secure paper serial number (found at the back of the UN paper) and then your new phone number. Once your SMS is sent, you will receive an automatic reply from UNHCR within 24 hours confirming that UNHCR successfully updated your new phone number. You can also inform UNHCR staff or any humanitarian organization, but it will take longer to update your number in the UNHCR system.

UNHCR hotlines


76-421605 (Tuesday and Friday 12:30pm-3:30pm)


Reception (general information): 01-849201 (Monday to Friday 8:30am-4pm)


General information: 76-611811 (Monday to Friday 8am-4pm)

Mount Lebanon

71-910349 (Monday to Friday 8am-4pm)


General Information: 76-500370 (Monday-Friday 8:30am-4pm)


Approach the UNHCR Centre, next to Rachid Karame (Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm)