Jordan: Bringing relief to Syrian refugees
08-10-2013 Operational Update
Syrians fleeing violence in their country continue to cross into Jordan every day in search of safety. Most are exhausted and desperately need help. Together with the Jordan National Red Crescent Society, the ICRC is doing its utmost to relieve their suffering.
"By the time they reach the border, most refugees have already endured a long and difficult journey," said Maan Ibrahim, who heads a team of ICRC water engineers in Jordan. "As soon as they arrive, they urgently need water, food, shelter and sometimes medical care."
According to official figures, more than 580,000 Syrians have taken refuge in Jordan since the onset of the fighting in their country. Around 30 per cent of Syrian refugees are accommodated in camps, and the others are taken in by local communities. Because Syrians arrive in Jordan with few if any belongings, when they cross the border they are initially hosted at reception points where their basic needs are attended to.
Most refugees remain in northern areas near the Syrian border, for example in Irbid, Mafraq, Ramtha or Zarqa, where they put tremendous pressure on the already very limited resources available. "So far, we have provided food and hygiene items for over 58,000 Syrian refugees," said ICRC delegate Nana Chukhua. "While our main aim is to assist the refugees, we are also easing the burden of local host communities."
At al-Zaatari camp, in Mafraq governorate north-east of Amman, thousands of Syrian refugees yearning to make contact with family members in Syria and elsewhere have been receiving help from the ICRC.
"People suffer terribly when they lose contact with their loved ones – they don't know where they are, or whether they're safe," said Ali Abdallah, head of the tracing services run by the ICRC at its Amman delegation. "Since the beginning of the year, over 24,000 refugees in the camp have had the opportunity to make free phone calls to their families."
From January to September, the ICRC:
- supplied rice, bulghur, white beans, lentils, cooking oil, canned tuna, tea, other food items as well as soap, shampoo, washing powder and similar items to some 58,000 Syrian refugees hosted by local communities in northern Jordan, in cooperation with the Jordan National Red Crescent Society;
- provided blankets, mattresses, pillows and hygiene items for over 100,000 Syrian refugees crossing the north-eastern Jordanian border;
- supplied 13 drinking water coolers, 19 water tanks and 12 wash basins for Syrian refugees crossing the north-eastern Jordanian border. Set up 20 pre-fabricated caravans, 11 of which are used as shelters, seven for toilets or showers, and two as clinics. Provided four generators of different capacities, five water pumps and other supplies, such as tarpaulins and rubbish containers, for Syrian refugees crossing the north-eastern Jordanian border;
- provided the Jordanian Royal Medical Services with wound-dressing materials on a monthly basis since March. Enough supplies have been provided to date to treat some 2,500 people with minor injuries, or about 250 with serious injuries;
- delivered two clinics fully equipped with solar-powered refrigeration, air conditioning, etc., to remote north-eastern border areas for Syrian refugees entering Jordan who need primary medical care
- organized a three-day seminar in February in the northern city of Irbid in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, during which a total of 40 Syrian and Jordanian surgeons were trained in war surgery and in the treatment of weapon–wounded patients;
- helped over 24,000 Syrian refugees, including 12 minors separated from their families, maintain contact with other family members inside Syria and elsewhere by making international telephone calls available free of charge. The ICRC also helped reunite a 14-year-old Syrian child with his family in Jordan;
- shipped blankets, mattresses, carpets, tents, food, hygiene parcels, kitchen sets, medical supplies and water-treatment supplies from Jordan to help the ICRC delegation in Syria in its efforts to bring aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians suffering the effects of the conflict.
For further information, please contact:
Hala Shamlawi, ICRC Amman, tel: +962 777 398 794
Ewan Watson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 33 45 or tel: +41 79 244 64 70