With the conflict in Syria entering its fifth year in 2015, Jordan was hosting 1.4 million Syrians, of whom 646,700 were refugees. Eighty-five per cent of refugees lived outside camps in some of the poorest areas of the country. Approximately 23.5 per cent of all Syrian refugees were women, and almost 53 per cent were children; 18 per cent of whom were under five years of age.
Long-staying Syrian refugees were increasingly unable to meet their basic needs in view of the shrinking protection space, limited access to livelihoods and fewer resources. At the same time,
WFP was facing severe financial crisis resulting in the reduction of the value of food vouchers provided to urban refugees and even cutting off the food assistance. Moreover, the government had imposed restrictions on the access of urban refugees to free healthcare services the year before. Accordingly, and given that refugees became increasingly and heavily reliant on humanitarian assistance since they were not allowed to work, they started resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as taking up underpaid illegal work; selling food rations; taking children out of school and sending them off to work; families sharing small living spaces; early marriage of girls and young women; and survival sex.
Providing for the Syrian refugees’ needs had also seriously impacted Jordan’s infrastructure and services and exacerbated the burden on the already scarce water resources in a country that is considered the second poorest in the world in terms of water resources. In some municipalities, refugees outnumbered residents, and the impact on inflation, employment, and access to public services had fuelled local tensions. There was growing acknowledgment that life-saving humanitarian funding and programming should be complemented by a more development-oriented approach to build national resilience and sustain the level and quality of services.
As for southern Syria, the conflict remained persistent and intense at the beginning of 2015.
Within both IDP and other conflict affected communities in the south, a confluence of factors, including vastly inflated food prices, inadequate shelter, shortages of fuel and electricity, and disrupted access to clean water, have exacerbated humanitarian needs. At the same time, infrastructural damage and other issues have left healthcare facilities, schools and other essential services operating at reduced capacity or closed, despite ever-growing demand.
Although UN Security Council Resolutions 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014) have significantly improved humanitarian access in the south, with the number of locations designated as “hard-to-reach” decreasing by more than 75 per cent, UN agencies and their implementing partners still faced significant operational constraints, including no direct access to target areas, rendering it difficult to move beyond short-term, lifesaving and life-sustaining measures and take meaningful steps to build local resilience and enhance access to protection, livelihoods, and essential services.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.