WFP to end cash handouts for 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan

Move marks World Food Programme's second major aid reduction in the kingdom within a year

Al Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in north-east Jordan, on November 17, 2022.  EPA
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The World Food Programme will stop giving cash handouts next month to 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan because of funding shortages, the UN said on Friday.

It is the second major reduction in aid to the refugees, after the WFP cut subsidies by a third in September last year, partly due to having to accommodate aid requirements stemming from the war in Ukraine.

The new cut, which takes effect on August 1st, affects 11 per cent of the 465,000 Syrian refugees benefiting from the cash assistance

“An unprecedented funding crisis is forcing the WFP to significantly scale back its monthly food assistance,” the UN body said, predicting a $41 million deficit this year.

The WFP has “exhausted all options,” it said.

“Without the necessary funds, the WFP will be compelled to reduce its response further,” it said.

Jordan is home to about 760,000 Syrian refugees registered with the UN. They fled the country after the 2011 uprising against the 22-year rule of President Bashar Al Assad descended into civil war.

On Thursday, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi said the kingdom will consult with other countries hosting Syrian refugees “to develop a joint response to declining support”.

In May, Mr Al Safadi told UN officials in Geneva that Jordan has “exceeded its capacity” to deal with the refugees, although they should not be forced to return to Syria.

It was the first comment by a Jordanian official on refugees since the readmission of Damascus to the Arab League in the same month, a decision Jordan supported amid improved ties with Mr Al Assad.

Updated: July 14, 2023, 1:03 PM