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UNHCR Jordan predicts ‘serious consequences’ amid $264m funding shortage

By JT - Jul 22,2023 - Last updated at Jul 22,2023

A bicycle in the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees (Mohamed Hawari/ United Nations)

AMMAN — The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in Jordan has received 32 per cent of its financial requirements for the 2023 fiscal year, despite the fact that the agency predicts "serious consequences for refugees" if the current funding crisis is not addressed. 

A report covered by Al Mamlaka on Friday indicated that UNHCR in Jordan had received $125.7 million out of the required $390.110 million, as of July 19, 2023, leaving a funding shortfall of $264.417 million.

“The current lack of funding for the refugee response is undermining the great achievements made in over a decade”, warned Dominik Bartsch, UNHCR Representative in Jordan, as quoted by the UN agency website.

Bartsch added that there is growing concern that Jordan’s ability to offer healthcare services and education for refugees is on the verge of a decline.

The World Food Programme (WFP) recently decided to reduce the cost of its monthly food assistance for refugees living in Jordan’s refugee camps, decreasing assistance from JD23 to JD15 (some $32 and $21 respectively). The WFP decision came after several other organisations experienced funding reductions in recent months: certain non-government organisations that provide healthcared services left Zaatari and Azraq camps, leading to serious resource shortages that affected the quality of healthcare provided in remaining health facilities, the UNHCR website added. 

Due to this funding gap, tens of thousands of vulnerable refugees are gradually being excluded from WFP’s assistance programmes to give priority to the most vulnerable families, according to the website.

Jordan hosts some 61,000 Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR, and has hosted more than 1.3 million Syrians since the start of the crisis in Syria in 2011. Of this figure 660,000 Syrian refugees are registered with UNHCR. 

UNHCR said that as of July 5, a total of 740,023 refugees of all nationalities were registered with the agency, with the exception of UNRWA's Palestine refugees, Al Mamlaka reported.

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