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US provides $21.3m to avert cut in WFP food aid for Syrians in Jordan

By JT - Jul 31,2015 - Last updated at Jul 31,2015

A worker arranges goods recently at a market in the Zaatari Refugee Camp, 90km northeast of Amman, where residents can use WFP vouchers to buy food (Photo by Muath Freij)

AMMAN — The United States is providing an additional $65 million in humanitarian assistance to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which feeds nearly six million Syrians and refugees from Syria every month.

The announcement, which includes $21.3 million for Jordan, prevents, with immediate effect, the cutting off of all assistance to some 440,000 Syrian refugees living in urban communities, which would otherwise have happened on August 1, a US embassy statement said Thursday. 

“The funding for Jordan is the highest for any country included in this announcement,” the statement added.

In total, the United States — through the USAID’s Office of Food for Peace — has now contributed more than $1.2 billion to WFP for its Syrian operations. 

This includes more than $530 million for operations inside Syria and more than $693 million for operations benefiting Syrian refugees. The refugee totals are more than $245 million for Jordan, over $311 million for Lebanon, and more than $75 million for Turkey, according to the statement.

As has been the case for most of 2015, WFP was again forced to reduce the value of food assistance provided to refugees living in host communities in July, Shaza Moghraby, the programme’s spokesperson, said in recent remarks to The Jordan Times.

The most vulnerable refugees living in the community, who should have received JD20 per person per month, received only JD15 in July. The vulnerable category continued to receive JD10, Moghraby noted.

She said in July that WFP urgently needs $11 million to feed some 440,000 refugees living in Jordanian communities in August.

In Jordan, there are 1.5 million Syrians, only half of them registered as refugees.

Some 86 per cent of urban (Syrian) refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line of $3.2 a day.

“Since 2013, the WFP voucher programme, funded in large part by the United States, has provided critical food assistance to refugees while also contributing approximately $1 billion to the economies of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq,” the US embassy said. 

“The programme has also bolstered local economies and reduced the strain placed on host communities that have generously opened their doors to refugees from Syria,” it added.

 

The US is “the single largest donor” of humanitarian assistance for the Syrian crisis, providing more than $3 billion since the start of the conflict, including over $1.4 billion in food assistance for people inside Syria and beyond its borders.

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