News / Middle East

Jordan Struggles to Help Syrian Refugees

Jordan Struggling to Accomodate Syrian Refugeesi
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February 28, 2013 6:46 PM
Jordan is giving shelter to more than 400,000 Syrians who have fled the two-year conflict in their country, and the number grows every day. Selah Hennessy travelled to Karak in southern Jordan where she met with Syrian families struggling to meet life's basic needs.
Selah Hennessy
Jordan is giving shelter to more than 400,000 Syrians who have fled two years conflict in their country, and the number grows every day.

In Karak in southern Jordan, the already poor population is coping with a further challenge - the influx of an estimated 10,000 Syrian refugees. Many are not registered as refugees and have been integrating into local communities.

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Tariq fled the city of Homs with his family six months ago. Now they are living in rented accommodation. Tariq is worried about food, schooling, and most of all, health. His father has had a stroke, three of his siblings suffer from a blood disorder, and his child needs surgery. Medicine is very expensive in Jordan, he says, and as a refugee it's impossible to afford it. The only thing he can afford is the rent.

Tariq and other Syrian refugees have paid visits to the region's private hospital seeking help, including the Italian Hospital which is run by Catholic nuns.  Over the years, the nuns have helped refugees from neighboring countries, including Iraq.

But Sister Alessandra Fumagalli says they don't have the resources to help the fresh flow of refugees from Syria. "We handle the emergency cases because we don't have the financial support to help every case," she says.  "So we decided to help emergency cases - especially women and children." The hospital needs financial assistance to help the refugees, she says.

Jordan's Zataari refugee camp is home to more than 100,000 Syrians. Thousands more are staying in urban centers throughout the country, especially in the capital, Amman. The Jordanian government, with the help of the international community, is trying to cope with the influx.

Tania Kisserli from the British Red Cross says the growing population of Syrian refugees is creating a strain on the country.

"The number of refugees coming into Jordan has put a huge pressure on the natural resources," says Kisserli. "It has also pushed up prices - food prices, rent prices. The numbers are absolutely unprecedented for a country like Jordan that has its own challenges."

But with no signs that the Syrian conflict is winding down, for now Jordanian communities are trying to help in what little way they can.

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