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UNHCR distributes winter cash assistance to refugees in Jordan

By JT - Nov 10,2021 - Last updated at Nov 10,2021

Over 76,000 refugee families (approximately 290,000 individuals) from a variety of nationalities in Jordan have received winter cash assistance, according to a UNHCR statement (Photo courtesy of UNHCR)

AMMAN — As winter approaches, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Jordan, has started distributing one-off winter cash assistance for refugees across the country. 

Over 76,000 refugee families (approximately 290,000 individuals) from a variety of nationalities —including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and others — in Jordan have already received winter cash assistance over the last couple of weeks, according to a UNHCR statement.  

Further distributions are subsequently planned to cover all 23,000 refugee families living in the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps over the coming weeks.

In total, UNHCR aims to support almost 100,000 refugee families in Jordan over the course of this winter, distributing approximately $35 million of funding to the most vulnerable refugee families in Jordan. 

This has been possible thanks to flexible funding support from donors such as Germany, the US, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Japan. 

The distribution of winter cash assistance early in the cold season is instrumental in helping refugees prepare for winter, said the statement. 

Last year, 90 per cent of refugees who received assistance said that it helped them improve their living conditions and reduce stress. 

UNHCR estimates that 46 per cent of refugees in Jordan need winter assistance this year.

The majority of refugees receiving winter cash assistance tend to spend their money on rent and food. In 2020, around 32 per cent of refugees reported they spent the money on heating and fuel and 30 per cent on utilities and bills. 

UNHCR expects refugees to spend their assistance in similar ways this year.

“The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased needs of refugees during the winter is a potentially disastrous combination," said UNHCR Deputy Representative Carolyn Ennis. 

Ennis added that "winter assistance this year is more crucial than ever as a protection tool to help the poorest refugees keep a roof over their heads and their family’s safe from the cold”. 

After receiving an SMS alerting them that their cash assistance is ready, refugees living in towns and cities will be able to collect their money at Cairo-Amman Bank ATM’s using UNHCR’s fraud proof biometric iris-scanning system. 

The cash is intended to cover refugee needs throughout the coldest months of winter. The amount of money that refugees receive is determined based on their family size and varies from $263 for a single person to $564 for a family of seven.

UNHCR’s winter cash assistance is distributed to refugee families who are eligible under UNHCR’s vulnerability criteria. Special attention is given to female-headed households, the elderly and people with medical needs, as well as survivors of sexual and gender-based violence concluded the statement.

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