Jordanian foreign minister highlights decline in aid for refugees

The World Food Programme's stipends to refugees in the kingdom were cut this month

The Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. AFP
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Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi said on Sunday there had been a “remarkable” drop in international aid for refugees in the region.

The kingdom is concerned about “the remarkable drop in international aid for refugees in the region and to the UN institutions that partner in the efforts to meet their needs,” the official news agency quoted Mr Al Safadi as telling Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in Amman.

“Mr Al Safadi affirmed the need to work together to guarantee the necessary support to provide a dignified living for the refugees and help the host countries bear the burden,” it said.

The two men agreed to “intensify the joint efforts to garner international support for the refugees.”

Jordan hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees, mostly from Syria. They fled there after the 2011 revolt, which transformed into a civil war by the end of that year, after the regime suppressed peaceful demonstrations against five decades of Assad family rule.

The UN World Food Programme cut its food stipends to refugees in Jordan by a third this month, partly due to having to accommodate aid requirements stemming from the war in Ukraine.

The cuts were the first tangible sign of the international focus on Ukraine undermining aid to Syrian victims of the civil war, with the Middle East increasingly confined to the shadows as the war in Europe takes centre stage.

The Jordanian economy has been stagnant for more than a decade and unemployment is as high as 23 per cent. The war in Ukraine has added to the rising cost of living in the kingdom, particularly for fuel and basic food supplies, such as wheat and sunflower oil.

Updated: June 19, 2023, 12:23 PM