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Syrian Refugees Fear Aid Cuts Due to Funding Gap

Lifestyle & Health

Mohammad Ghazal - 7Dnews Amman

Sun, 17 Jun 2018 12:22 GMT

"I came to Amman in 2012 with my wife, my parents and three sons…We receive aid from the World Food Programme but it is not enough and I work as a plumber and make some extra money, but Amman is very expensive and our situation is difficult," says Jamal Hasaki, a Syrian refugee from Homs and a resident of Hai Nazzal in east Amman.

The concerns of Syrian refugees living in Jordan increased recently, as the UN agencies fear a shortage in funding will soon impact the assistance they provide to more than 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, of which more than 500,000 are residing outside refugee camps and paying for their own accommodation.

Amin Awad, UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee Coordinator for Syria, told 7Dnews the funds received so far are not enough. He says, “We are falling behind on cash assistance, services and making sure refugees have critical services and even in terms of providing protection for women and girls and in addressing other social problems,"

UN agencies providing assistance to Syrian refugees in the Middle East said in a press conference earlier in May that they had received only 28% of the total of $5.6 billion funds requested for 2018. Those funds are used to assist over nine million refugees and vulnerable host community members with a range of humanitarian, protection and resilience support. In addition, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said the number of Syrian refugees deported from Jordan to their war-ravaged homeland has “decreased dramatically” in recent months, in part because of appeals for more careful reviews of cases

Hasaki says his family cannot tolerate any cut in aid. He added, “I get JD 20 for each member of my family per month for buying food. If this is reduced, It will be difficult to survive. I already pay JD150 per month for the rent and my parents are sick."

Abu Ahmad, another Syrian refugee from Daraa, who works at a fast food restaurant in Al Hussein Refugee camp in Amman, voiced concern about any cuts in services or the aid Syrian refugees receive. He says, "I live with my family of four. I work for 10 dinars per day and I get aid from the UN to buy food. My salary goes on transportation and the rent and I rely on UN aid to buy food for my children. What would happen to us if there is a cut or reduction in this aid?" he asked.

The public sector and basic services in host countries, including the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, are now critically overstretched, affecting both refugee and host communities. Samuel Rizk, Manager, UNDP Sub-Regional Response Facility (Syria crisis), told 7Dnews that the resilience component ensures that millions of refugees and host community members are given the opportunity for a decent, self-reliant and dignified livelihood.

The needs of Syrian refugee families remain critical and are not only limited to humanitarian needs. The majority of refugees are living in poverty and without access to basic services, such as health care and education. UNHCR warns many school children will drop out if the funding gap continues in the second half of 2018. Rizk added, "UNDP's projects in the countries impacted by the Syrian crisis also help strengthen national systems and capacities in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt to respond to the crisis and pursue their long term national development aspirations."

While the fund for aid provided to Syrian refugees shrinks, Syrian refugees in Jordan remain with few options other than living in hardship. "We have no other option and cannot return to our homes in Syria," said Abu Ahmad.

Middle East