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UNHCR chief due in Jordan to ‘mobilise int’l help’

By Khetam Malkawi - Jan 05,2015 - Last updated at Jan 05,2015

AMMAN — UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is due to visit Jordan on Thursday to mobolise the international community to further help Jordan as it hosts Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

According to UNHCR Jordan, during his visit, Guterres will also launch “Home Visit Report” about the situation of Syrian refugees hosted in the Kingdom.

According to the UNHCR website, the agency’s financial requirements for the region to deal with the Syrian crisis and provide humanitarian assistance for refugees are set at $1.89 billion. 

As for Jordan alone, the agency needs $404,432,393 according to the agency.

Meanwhile, Andrew Harper, UNHCR representative to Jordan, said the agency is still waiting to receive money to start providing the planned services for refugees this year. He told The Jordan Times although it takes a while to start providing support for refugees, the agency needs to make sure that women and children are at least provided with heating in the cold weather, so blankets are being distributed.

According to government figures, there are more than 1.4 million Syrians in Jordan and only 620,000 of them are registered with UNHCR. Of those refugees, the UN agency said 30,000 households receive cash grants. 

Although Syrians constitute the majority of Jordan’s refugee population, the agency said there are also 30,000 Iraqis registered as refugees with UNHCR in the country. 

“While the security conditions in Iraq explain the lack of interest in voluntary return, assistance and services are often insufficient to meet the needs of those refugees who remain in Jordan,” the agency said in its report.

The agency, however, expressed concern that the continuing infl­ux of Syrians is likely to affect UNHCR’s activities to address the needs of Iraqi refugees in Jordan. “RSD [refugee status determination] and resettlement will remain essential protection elements for the Iraqi refugee population,” the agency said. It added that the response will closely monitor the status of those refugees at risk of becoming more destitute, due to increasingly limited access to services and infrastructure, and UNHCR will review its strategy for them with government counterparts.

Since July 31, over 5,000 refugees and asylum seekers who were not of Syrian or Iraqi origin have been also registered. The majority are Somali and Sudanese, including many who have been in Jordan for an extended period of time, the organisation said. 

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