2020 IN REVIEW
JORDAN HUMANITARIAN FUND AT A GLANCE
Humanitarian situation in 2020
Since the start of Syria’s decade-long conflict, over one million Syrians have fled into Jordan and now constitute nearly 10 per cent of the country’s population. UNHCR has registered 663,507 refugees, with 535,844 (81 per cent) in host communities and the remaining 127,663 (19 per cent) in camps. Jordan’s estimated average annual cost of hosting Syrian refugees is US$ 1.5 billion, including humanitarian and cash assistance, subsidized education and health services, as well as indirect costs associated with pressure on electrical, water and sanitation and transport systems. As the Syrian conflict enters its tenth year and the impact of the crisis on Jordan continues to evolve, the need to incorporate longer-term, more cost-efficient responses has become critical.
Palestinian Refugees from Syria
The conflict has also forced over 120,000 Palestine Refugees from Syria (PRS) to flee the country in search for safety and protection elsewhere, in particular in Lebanon and Jordan. As of December 2019, the number of PRS in Jordan reported by UNRWA remained relatively stable at 17,349 PRS (5,355 women, 4,518 men, 7,476 children, including 295 persons with disabilities).
Many more PRS holding Jordanian documents also periodically cross into Jordan but have irregular status, placing them at higher risks for arrest, detention and forced return. Among the most vulnerable PRS are 356 who reside in King Abdullah Park (KAP), who face movement restrictions and other protection concerns. PRS join some 2.3 million Palestine refugees, many of whom have now lived in Jordan for decades.
Jordan also hosts another 90,000 refugees mainly from Iraq (67,188), Somalia (744), Sudan (6,096). Like Syrian and Palestinian refugees, most live in urban areas, adding pressures to the country’s economy, infrastructure, health and education systems. With the convergence of various refugee groups and the associated pressure on scarce natural resources and basic services, risks of social conflicts also increase.
Rukban (Northeastern borders)
The humanitarian situation for the estimated 12,000 Syrian Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Rukban on Jordan’s north-eastern border with Syria, deteriorated in 2020. With the closure of Jordan’s border following the outbreak of COVID-19, services provided by Jordan-based partners were suspended, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian conditions. Against Jordan’s harden stance that Syria assist this population, some 19,000 people left the settlement to seek health, assistance and solutions in Syria. Although health services were suspended from March, OCHA Jordan continued to monitor the situation, and advocate for assistance and support for Damascus-led options.
COVID-19 exacerbated vulnerabilities and increased hardships among refugees and vulnerable Jordanians alike. Nearly 80 per cent of people in Jordan faced job losses or declining working hours, pushing hundreds of thousands into poverty and further marginalizing the poor communities. The crisis also resulted in challenges in accessing health care, education and other basic services, particularly for those already vulnerable.
Despite the Government's efforts to continue essential services, gaps were evident across key sectors. People with chronic and urgent medical needs experienced delays in accessing health care and essential medications, particularly during the March-April lockdown measures. While gender- based violence (GBV) increased, access to shelters and protective services decreased. Jordanians and refugee students faced challenges in accessing online, quality learning, while violence and negative coping strategies, including child labour (mainly boys) and early marriages (mainly girls), increased.
Women, regardless of employment or socio-economic status, have been disproportionately affected by COVID in Jordan, including increased workloads, more job losses, higher risks of contracting the virus and of gender-based and domestic violence. For the 13 per cent of the population who have disabilities, the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated long-standing challenges in accessing transportation, education and livelihoods. Maintaining medical and rehabilitation care was also a challenge, with a recent assessment indicating that 88 per cent of people with disabilities had difficulty in accessing health care because of COVID-19.
During 2020, humanitarian actors in Jordan reinforced support to the governments' efforts to mitigate and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic under three pillars: 1) supporting health response; 2) humanitarian assistance for refugee populations in camps, in urban settings and vulnerable host communities; and 3) mitigating the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 by scaling up the United Nation’s development response. The Socio-Economic Framework (SEF) was developed to complement and intersect with the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and the JRP.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.