US steps in to help bridge Syrian refugee food funding gap in Jordan

About $22m will be sent through the UN World Food Programme

Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan. AFP
Powered by automated translation

The US is providing $22 million to help the UN give cash handouts to Syrian refugees to buy food, but a significant funding gap remains, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has said.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) last month slashed food stipends for 353,000 mostly Syrian refugees in Jordan by a third, saying the cut was partly due to having to accommodate aid requirements stemming from the war in Ukraine as well as higher prices worldwide.

A statement from USAID on Sunday said the additional $22m brings the total US contributions this year to the programme's operations in Jordan to $89m.

This accounts for a third of the WFP's total “food assistance financial requirements” for the year in Jordan, the statement said.

USAID added that the WFP is still $34.5m short on financing for its Jordan operations this year, despite the cut in the food stipends.

“The United States encourages other donors to support the Syrian people, given the scale and urgency of needs,” the statement said.

It said the global food price rises prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February is “severely straining food security in Jordan”.

US assistance to the WFP in Jordan over the past decade totalled $524m, which has allowed the WFP to “provide cash-based transfers to help half a million refugees cover their food needs”, the statement said.

About 465,000 mostly Syrian refugees in Jordan receive the food stipends.

Jordan has 720,000 Syrian refugees who mostly fled to the kingdom after the 2011 revolt against five decades of rule by the Al Assad family.

Updated: June 13, 2023, 11:37 AM