June 23, 2024

UN cuts aid to Syrians in Jordan, citing funding shortfall

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The United Nations’ World Food Program has announced it would reduce cash assistance to nearly 120,000 Syrian refugees in Jordanian camps, saying the move was “unavoidable as funds run precariously low”.
The UN logs about 650,000 Syrians in Jordan who fled their native country since war broke out there in 2011, but Amman estimates their number at 1.3 million.

The WFP said in a statement that “further reductions in food assistance for refugees in Jordan have become unavoidable as funds run precariously low”.

The statement late Tuesday added it was “compelled to reduce by one-third the monthly cash assistance for all 119,000 Syrian refugees in Zaatari and Azraq camps”.

As of next month, the Syrian refugees in the two camps will receive “a reduced cash allowance of $21 per month per person” down from the current $32.

“Syrian refugees living in both camps have limited income sources with only 30 percent of adults working -– mainly in temporary or seasonal jobs -– while 57 percent of camp residents say cash assistance is their only source of income,” the WFP said.

Dominik Bartsch, the UN refugee agency UNHCR’s representative in Jordan, warned Wednesday of “serious consequences for refugees and host communities” if funding is not secured.

“Due to the funding gap, tens of thousands of vulnerable refugees are gradually being excluded from WFP’s assistance to prioritize the poorest families,” UNHCR said in a statement, urging “determined and coordinated action” by the international community.

“Sustained support over the years has allowed Syrian refugees to access the labour market (in Jordan). Now there is an imminent risk that the situation is sliding back into a humanitarian crisis,” Bartsch said.

The WFP’s representative in Jordan, Alberto Correia Mendes, warned of “increased negative coping strategies” including child labour, child marriage and debt accumulation as a result of the aid cuts.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential deterioration of families’ food security, but as funding dries up, our hands are tied,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The WFP said it “still faces a critical funding shortfall of $41 million until the end of 2023” despite the cuts.

The war in Syria has claimed more than half a million lives and displaced millions, including at least 5.5 million refugees hosted by neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, according to the UN.

©️ Agence France-Presse

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