15 January 2015

UNHCR has published a report on the situation of the more than half a million Syrian refugees in Jordan living outside of official camps. As the situation continues to deteriorate, two thirds of the population are already living below Jordan’s absolute poverty line of €82 per month and one in six refugee households is in abject poverty, with less than €34 for each person per month. In spite of 94% receiving humanitarian assistance, the current living conditions of 47% are assessed as bad or urgent.

“The generosity of the Jordanian people and the Government needs to be matched by massive support from the international community – support for the refugees themselves and for the local populations hosting them, but also structural and budgetary support to the Jordanian Government for education, health, water and sanitation and electricity to enable it to cope with this enormous challenge”, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres explains.

Out of the nearly 42,000 households that researchers visited in January to June 2014, almost half had no heating, a quarter had unreliable electricity and 20% had no functioning toilet. While a third of all households reported earning an income by way of work, only 14% of female-headed households had work-related income compared to 47% of male-headed households. A mere 1% of visited households had a member with a work permit.

“Unless the international community increases its support to refugees, families will opt for ever more drastic coping strategies,” says High Commissioner Guterres. “More children will drop out of school to work and more women will be at risk of exploitation, including survival sex.”

Education remains free of direct costs for Syrian refugees in Jordan, but 12% of families still report resorting to taking children out of school in order to cope with the level of poverty and 6% of households with school-aged children use child labour. 53% of refugee children are enrolled in school. While Syrian refugees had access to free public health services when data was gathered for the report, the government of Jordan has decided to begin charging refugees, adding expenditures to refugee households.

84% of the 622,000 refugees from Syria living in Jordan live outside refugee camps.


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