UN agencies serving refugees in Jordan appeal for funds

By Mohammed Ghazal in Amman

UNHCR workers deliver aid to a Syrian refugee family in Azraq camp. [Photo courtesy of UNHCR]

UNHCR workers deliver aid to a Syrian refugee family in Azraq camp. [Photo courtesy of UNHCR]

UN organisations in Jordan issued an appeal on May 31st urging the international community to commit aid to Syrian refugees, warning that aid cuts would begin in late June due to funding shortages.

"UN organisations appealed for $5.6 billion for 2018 to assist Syrian refugees in the region, but only 18 to 20% of the appeal has been received," said Amin Awad, director of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' Middle East and North Africa Bureau.

"We want to send a message to the entire world and donor countries to honour their commitments to countries neighbouring Syria that host large numbers of Syrian refugees, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq," he said.

UN agencies "need assistance to continue their work and provide services in all sectors to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and displaced Syrians inside Syria", he added.

"The amounts received so far by organisations since the beginning of the current year are insufficient, and will affect the services provided to refugees, children and women in the areas of education, health, social protection and others," he said.

Lack of funding would increase the number of children who are out of school inside and outside the camps, Awad added.

Ensuring food security

The World Food Programme alone "needs $310 million this year to continue its services to Syrian refugees and provide assistance and services to some 3.3 million Syrian refugees in the region", said media officer Dina el-Kassabi.

She expressed her thanks to donor countries, stressing "the necessity of providing assistance to enable the organisation to perform its work as required".

"Food aid for refugees is important and vital, and the lack of such aid would compound their suffering and sense of insecurity," she told Al-Mashareq.

Mohammed al-Amri, a refugee from Daraa who lives in Amman with five of his children, said the economic situation is becoming more difficult for refugees.

"Amman is expensive, and the support we get from UN organisations is not enough to meet our needs, so we take any job for any pay," he said. "Any shortfall in aid would increase our suffering."

Abdullah al-Helou, a refugee from Douma, said many Syrians have been forced to marry off their daughters at an early age to ease financial pressures.

"If there is a reduction in aid, many refugees will have to put their children to work and there would be no future for them," he told Al-Mashareq.

Pressures on Jordan

Economist Wajdi Makhamreh stressed the need for the international community to support Jordan and other countries hosting Syrian refugees.

"In Jordan, for example, the unemployment rate among Jordanian youth exceeds 18% and there are pressures on the economy," he said. "This is compounded by the closure of the border with Syria, one of Jordan's most important markets."

"We must continue to provide assistance to the refugees and UN agencies, because this will help alleviate pressure on the host countries and suffering of the refugees," he told Al-Mashareq.

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Peace be upon you! I’m Ahmed Mahmoud Haidar Saheb. Commission No. 199-13C11250. I’m currently residing in Jordan. I need your help. I’m a lonely person and have nobody to help me.