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Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien remarks to the press, Amman, Jordan, 2 September 2016

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I would first like to take the opportunity of being here in Jordan to extend my sincerest condolences to the families of those killed in the terrorist attack at the north-eastern border of Jordan on 21 June. I very much hope that those who were injured have fully recovered.

As you know, it is not my first visit to Jordan. I am very glad to be back. I must again express my sincere gratitude to the Government and to the people of Jordan for your exemplary generosity and humanity and your tradition of offering hospitality for successive waves of refugees including Palestinians, Iraqis and now Syrians. Jordan serves as an island of stability, hosting the international community, contributing to and enabling us to respond to the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people fleeing the conflict in Syria.

Since I arrived in Jordan in the early hours of Thursday morning, I have been able to meet with senior Jordanian officials from the Government and the security services, including the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Minister of Planning. Our discussions focused principally on national security concerns and on finding solutions to the Syrians stranded at the north-eastern border.

The living conditions for the people stranded at the berm are dire with no access to basic resources such as food and water. With over 75 per cent of the population estimated to be women and children, they desperately need assistance and support. I was able to visit the area this morning to see the reality of the harsh day-to-day living conditions and better understand the challenges of meeting the needs of these people while ever respectful of the security concerns of Jordan. With the Minister of Planning, we reviewed progress on education opportunities and livelihoods for Syrian refugees following the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ conference in London.

I was also able to better understand the extraordinary efforts of the Jordanian authorities in responding to the needs of refugees flowing into Jordan since the beginning of the crisis. For the people at the berm, the Jordanian authorities have facilitated and supported the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Donors, whom I met with yesterday, are committed to support humanitarian assistance. The international community must ensure more robust burden-sharing measures to support the Government of Jordan to address the impact of the crisis and preserve hard-earned development gains. I trust that Jordan will be able to maintain its honorable tradition of offering assistance to the most vulnerable.

As the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, I underscore here and now the commitment of the international community, the United Nations and OCHA to support the Government’s leadership in responding to the impact of the Syria crisis in Jordan.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.