You are here

UN agencies provide comprehensive support to Jordan’s COVID-19 response

Collective work needed more than ever to reduce virus impact — UN’s Pedersen

By JT - May 06,2020 - Last updated at May 06,2020

Led by UNHCR, the main hospital in Azraq and a network of clinics are fully staffed and have introduced additional infection-control measures. Physical measures have been also introduced in health facilities in the camps, such as isolation areas and other facilities to ensure social distancing is respected (Photo courtesy of UNHCR)

AMMAN — Against the backdrop of national efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, the United Nations Country Team is working with the Government of Jordan to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on all people in the country, according to a UN press release shared with The Jordan Times on Wednesday.


Since the onset of the crisis, the UN has intensified its support for refugees and other vulnerable populations, while offering expertise and material assistance to support the national response to the COVID-19 emergency, the press release noted. 


The UN is now working with the government to address the immediate, medium and longer-term socio-economic impacts of the crisis.


“The COVID-19 pandemic is a massive and unprecedented health crisis that threatens the development, social and economic gains realised in recent years,” said Anders Pedersen, the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Jordan, in the press release.


“Collective work is needed now more than ever to reduce the impact of the virus. Only by working together, can we tackle the immediate and longer-term health and socio-economic repercussions of the crisis,” Pedersen added. 


Health preparedness and response


The UN team, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is supporting Jordan’s National Preparedness and Response Operational Plan to contain and respond to the virus. Support ranges from technical advice to procurement of medical and personal protection equipment (PPE) to gender-responsive and inclusive risk communication materials, the press release read.


UNICEF and UNHCR have procured emergency health equipment and supplies valued at $3.7 million and $1.2 million, respectively, to support the Ministry of Health. In addition, UNHCR has gifted six ambulances to the ministry. 


The UNDP is supporting medical waste management in Jordan’s public hospitals to protect patients, medical workers and the public. This includes support for Al Bashir Hospital’s ER triage tent, which allows the hospital to continue to care for some 2,000 non-COVID cases per day, according to the press release.


UNRWA is reducing the risk of the spread of the virus in 10 Palestinian refugee camps by removing over 300 tonnes of refuse daily as part of its environmental health programme.


The continuity of learning


Following the nation-wide closure of schools, the UN adopted programming to make sure schoolchildren were able to continue their education, including in refugee camps.


UNESCO, UNICEF and UNHCR are supporting the Ministry of Education to implement the “Education During Emergency Plan” to provide online and low-tech solutions for vulnerable communities as well as pathways for return to schools. 


UNRWA is also implementing remote-learning techniques, targetting over 118,000 Palestinian refugee students from UNRWA schools and training centres, the press release noted.


Water, sanitation and hygiene


UNICEF and partners have increased the allowance of water per person per day in refugee camps and procured emergency hygiene and cleaning supplies for vulnerable families in camps and host communities.


UNICEF has also supplied the Ministry of Water and Irrigation with PPEs for workers at water and wastewater facilities.


Addressing gender-based violence


Recognising that domestic violence surges during crises, the UN is stepping up efforts to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and make sure life-saving assistance remains available, the press release stressed. 


UN Women is providing tools and guidance on gender-sensitive services to Security Sector Agencies and civil society organisations. Collaboration with the Jordanian Women’s Union continues, with a focus on securing safe and confidential protection services, access to shelters and essential supplies for GBV survivors.


UNICEF is working with the Family Protection Department to ensure reporting and referral of reported cases of violence continues during curfew and is scaling up preparedness at shelters.  Efforts to combat online child exploitation are also continuing.


UNHCR and its protection partners continue to provide essential protection services to refugees, while the UNFPA has prioritised the resumption of sexual and reproductive health services in the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps and continued support for GBV hotlines. 


Food security and livelihood


The World Food Programme (WFP) is working closely with the government to continue cash assistance to address the basic food needs of half a million refugees across the Kingdom. 


An assessment led by the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is identifying the effect of COVID-19 on Jordan’s food commodities and markets, with results indicating that the government’s proactive measures were critical in maintaining a functioning agricultural sector and food supply chain. 


The UN will continue to support authorities to monitor consumer food prices and ensure the most vulnerable have access to sufficient food supplies. Maintaining and expanding food and cash assistance for refugees and other vulnerable people is a priority, according to the press release. 


Through UNDP programmes, continuing income-generating activities for vulnerable Jordanians and Syrian refugees is also a priority, as is ongoing support to local micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).


Social protection and governance


The UN is implementing a range of social protection and cash assistance programmes to respond to the needs of vulnerable people, as well as generating evidence to better inform planning and programming as part of the COVID-19 response.


UNICEF and the WFP, in collaboration with the World Bank, are providing technical and joint programming assistance to the National Aid Fund (NAF) to strengthen and temporarily expand coverage.


As part of the expansion, the WFP and UNICEF are supporting the enrolment and opening of mobile wallets for both newly registered Takaful recipients and the 200,000 households under emergency cash support, while the WFP has also provided virtual financial literacy sessions.


UN Women is providing cash assistance for vulnerable Jordanian women and Syrian refugees through its Oasis centres and in refugee camps.


UNICEF has also scaled up its cash transfer programme “Hajati” to target 30,000 boys and girls with continued learning and safety nets for at-risk families, the press release said. 


UNRWA is working to reduce the impact of the loss of livelihoods for Palestine refugees in the Jerash camp through one-time cash assistance.


The UNDP has reoriented, repurposed and introduced digital initiatives in support of the government’s COVID-19 response. 


The UNDP is also proceeding with the implementation of the joint programme with UN Women to support women’s civic and political participation in light of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the context of COVID-19.




UNICEF technical and vocational scholarships have supported young people with laptops and the Internet to continue learning online. Thousands of young people have signed up for the UNICEF-supported National Engagement Platform, Nahno, to volunteer their services for the online national effort.


The platform is also providing intensive training to support community-level responses.


UN appeals


UNHCR, UNICEF and the International Organisation for Migration have launched appeals for $27 million, $22.4 million and $4.5 million respectively to continue to be able to support the people and Government of Jordan with urgent priority response interventions, the press release concluded.



78 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.