Deepening Syrian Crisis Forces Refugees from Remote Locations into Jordan
As the numbers of the Syrian refugees assisted by IOM from the Jordanian border to Zaa'tri refugee camp reached 200,000 on Wednesday 6/3/2013, IOM has noted an increase in refugees coming from as far away as the central and western towns of Homs and Hama.
When the refugees' influx into Jordan began in the middle of 2011, almost all of them came from the southern regions of Daraa, al Suweidaa and al Qunaitera, located close to the Jordanian border. But the deepening of the crisis means that desperate people are now forced to travel long distances to seek safety in Jordan.
Recently significant numbers of arrivals at the Jordanian border have come from Damascus (129km) Homs (269 km), Hama (313 km) and Aleppo, a city located 486 km from the Jordanian border.
Those who arrive at the border crossing are mainly women-headed families accompanied by young children. Men are staying behind. At times, one male member of the family will accompany a family or a group of families to the border.
IOM conducts health screening for refugees crossing the border to identify individuals with injuries or serious medical conditions. The Organization then provides the refugees with transport from the border to Za'atari (40 km) refugee camp. It estimates that 48% of those arriving are female and 19% are children under the age of five.
The refugees cover long distances to reach the border normally on foot. When they reach the border they are often exhausted and dehydrated. Some are suffering from gunshot wounds received when they attempted to escape or during the journey.
The level of suffering inside Syria, according to the refugees arriving at the border, varies significantly. It is influenced by a range of factors, including the intensity of the conflict in the area where the refugees come from - whether government-held or opposition controlled areas - the availability of supply routes, and the coping mechanisms of civil society.
Jordan, whose population is slightly over 6 million, is now hosting some 360,000 Syrian refugees according to UNHCR, in addition to 450,000 Iraqi refugees, who arrived prior to the Syria crisis in 2011.
As a result of the intensifying violence in Syria in recent months, refugees have crossed the Syrian/Jordanian border points at a rate of around 1,900 per day.
Since the uprising against the Syrian government began in March 2011, some 1.1 million Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt and over 2.5 million Syrians have been internally displaced.
IOM's emergency response activities in Syria and the surrounding countries are funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Chile, China, Cyprus, Germany, Japan, the Philippines, Slovakia, Switzerland, the UK, the US, UNHCR and IOM's Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM.) The Organization has appealed for USD 35.6 to continue its work in the region.