Q&A for Syrian Refugees whose details are recorded with UNHCR Winter Assistance Support 2015/2016

Q&A for Syrian Refugees whose details are recorded with UNHCR  Winter Assistance Support 2015/2016

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

If you have recorded your details with UNHCR, and have had your eyes iris-scanned, and are found to be eligible to receive winter assistance support, UNHCR will send you an SMS notification to your phone by mid-January 2016. The SMS that you will receive will contain information on where and when to go to receive from UNHCR a white card to be used to withdraw the cash from any ATM cash machine in Lebanon.

If you recently changed your phone number, please call or approach any UNHCR Centre. It may also be that your friend/family didn’t tell you the message in case you are sharing your phone with others. Please make sure to check the messages received in your phone regularly.

2. What will I receive and how?

The assistance will be provided in cash through a white ATM card provided by UNHCR.

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.

3. When and where will I receive the assistance?

After receiving the white card, UNHCR will send you an SMS to inform you when the cash is available in your card, so you can go and withdraw it from any ATM cash machine in Lebanon.

Very important to know!

  • In January 2016 you will receive the value of 3 months cash winter support all together at the same time, November and December 2015 and January 2016.
  • In February 2016, you will only receive the cash assistance for winter for February 2016.

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

UNHCR winter assistance will be provided from November 2015 until February 2016. However, as mentioned in Q3, you will receive three month assistance for winter in January 2016 and one month in February 2016.

5. 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

6. If I am eligible to receive winter assistance, will I be also recognized as a registered refugee by UNHCR?

No. As of 5 May 2015, registration for Syrians has been temporarily suspended until further notice. This follows instructions UNHCR has received from the Government of Lebanon.

7. Can I receive any other type of assistance if my details are recorded with UNHCR?

Yes. While available only to those most in need, UNHCR and partner organizations provide the following services in Lebanon:

  • Health care at reduced costs.
  • Education support.
  • Support with shelter material/rehabilitation.
  • Support with basic sanitation facilities, including access to clean water supplies.
  • Legal assistance.
  • Financial support.
  • Psychosocial support, recreational activities for children and free learning opportunities in community centers such as IT, languages, mobile repairing, sewing and others.

For more individual advice and support, you can approach any of the Community or Social Centers in Lebanon supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs, UNHCR and partners.

8. What does the UNHCR white card looks like?

The white card looks like the image.

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

9. Will UNHCR tell me how to use the card?

Yes. When you will collect the white card, you will be receiving explanations on how to use the card in the ATM machines and also receive other information to ensure you keep the card and the PIN secret number safe.

The explanations will be supported by an interactive video and by a leaflet.

10. 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, Syrian refugees recorded by UNHCR 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.

11. I received the SMS but I cannot go to collect the white card during the requested day. Is there an alternative date? Can I call UNHCR?

If for any reason you cannot collect the white card, please call or approach the UNHCR Centre of your area of residence (see numbers below).

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.

UNHCR hotlines


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


- 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)

UNHCR Reception Centres

- Akkar: Appointments at the Tripoli Reception centre.

- Beirut/Mount Lebanon: In person, at the Reception centre in Ramlet El-Baida, Dr. Philippe Hitti St. behind Spinney's Supermarket, Beirut, Monday to Friday 8am - 2pm.

- Bekaa: Zahle highway, near Kaysar Ata IceCream (Zahle). No appointments in person. Call hotline number: 08-930468, Monday to Friday 8am- 4pm.

- South: In person, at the Reception centre in Villa Krischt, Al Hosh, in Tyre, Monday to Friday 8am - 2pm, or call for an appointment at 76-500380, Mon-Fri 8:30am- 4pm.

- Tripoli: In person, at the Reception centre next to Rachid Karame Exhibition Centre in Tripoli, Monday to Friday 8am - 2pm.