Jordan: "9" Out Of "10" Refugees are Below the Poverty Line!


Reports | 30 09 2016

In a rickety room, and cracked roof which is not able to keep the rain away any more, we met “Om Omar”, who fled the ongoing battles around the city of Homs, and know nothing about her husband’s fate who was detained since 2012, so she lived in a room furnished with one carpet, 3 foam mattress, and some blankets, into the outskirts of the capital, Amman.

The majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan live under the poverty line, according to a joint report was issued at the end of 2015, by the World Bank Group and the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where nearly nine out of every ten registered Syrian refugees who live in Jordan, are either poor or expected to be poor in the near future, based on the assistance provided to them by UNHCR.

The absolute poverty line in Jordan

The results of the poverty report in Jordan issued by the Jordanian Department of Statistics, confirmed that the value of the absolute poverty line "food and non-food" amounted to 813.7 dinars (US $ 1150) per person per year.

The Syrian refugee “Adnan Gazeya” said that his situation has worsened after they reduced the aid provided by the World Food Organization this year, which became insufficient unlike past years.

"I was not ready to leave Syria, my house and all my livelihood remained there, I’m sick and can’t work", with these simple words, the Syrian refugee abbreviated his situation.

“Mardini”, another Syrian refugee, added that he relies occasionally on his life savings, which he put it as gold bracelets in his wife wrist, he is unable to work because of his bad health, and was forced to sell something from the wife, in order to buy some necessary needs.

Population Survey results

The last population survey conducted by the Jordanian government on 01-30-2016, showed a deterioration in the Syrian refugees’ economic conditions, according to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Population “Sawsan Majali”, and that was in a lecture in the International Conference on Refugees in 16.03.2016 entitled "Jordanian experience in the issues of immigration and asylum and their impact on achieving and invest demographic opportunity in Jordan". Majali pointed out that the Syrian refugees’ savings have been spent in the past five years, while the international aid is being decreased and the government is not allowing them to work.

"The refugees’ money finished, most of them have been here since 5 years" said Majali, pointing out that this situation is pushing refugees to find alternative sources of livelihood, where they are forced to throw their children in the labor market or begging, depriving them of education, or they may resort to what is worse, such as prostitution or drugs.

Syrian refugees borrow their food

The International organization CARE conducted a periodically survey on the relief operating in Jordan, to study the situation of Syrian refugees, and in its semi-annual report for 2016, it focused on the economic aspect of the refugees.

‘Mahmoud Shabib’ spokesman in the organization explains to Rozana: that the bad economic conditions of Syrians refugees make them borrow their food at the end of the day.

Shabib added that the survey conducted by the organization to 6,500 Syrian refugees in the cities of the Kingdom, explained that the refugees are now shrinking their meals because of the need.

He says: "The Syrians refugees borrow money for various reasons, shelter, food, health, and finally education, the study found that a quarter of Syrian refugees were expelled from their home twice or more due to the inability to pay the wages of housing."

And the study announced that 62% of the families are buying food by debt, and that the families that do not receive food aid, can cover the basic needs of food for two weeks only, maximum for three weeks, sometimes for only one week.

One-third of the budget is spent on the Syrians

In the response plan to the Syrian crisis, the Jordanian Ministry of Planning in cooperation with the competent ministries, estimated at the beginning of 2015, that Jordan needs 2.99 billion US dollars for, necessary to maintain the services provided for Jordanians, and continue to provide essential services to the Syrian refugees and treasury support.

The total cost of hosting the Syrian refugees between 2011 and 2015, is US $ 6.644.689.465, such as a cost of sectors $ 4,790,097,155 and $ 1,854,592,310 as the cost of the public treasury.

However, the total submitted from donor nations to support Jordan in its efforts in the Syrian refugees’ issue, did not exceed 36% of the amounts promised by these countries in 2015, according to the Jordanian Ministry of Planning data.

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