In the past five years, the Syrian Civil War has turned into one of the biggest humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Millions of civilians have been displaced from their homes and forced to flee to other countries. This has created a refugee crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War II. Few countries have borne a greater brunt of this crisis then Jordan. Here are eight facts about refugees in Jordan.
- There was a massive flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there were over 620,000 Syrians living in Jordan as of June 2015.
- According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 80 percent of refugees in the country have adequate housing/shelter.
- A majority of Syrian refugees are being hosted by some of Jordan’s poorest communities with Amman, Irbid and Mafraq taking on over 76 percent of all Syrian refugees in Jordan. This is causing strain on public services and infrastructure and is creating tension between Jordanians and refugees.
- Many Syrian refugees lack basic services. Only 22 percent of refugee households have their basic domestic and hygiene needs meet. Additionally, 20 percent of refugee households do not have access to primary health care and 30 percent do not have access to tertiary health care.
- A large number of Syrian refugee children in Jordan are not receiving a proper education. Over 80,000 out of 226,000 children did not receive a formal education last year.
- Human Rights Watch explains that most of the barriers to children receiving education stem from unnecessary restrictions placed by the Jordanian government. These include unattainable registration requirements, bans on enrollment for children who haven’t been to school in three or more years and sanctions for refugees working without proper permits. By easing these restrictions, more children will be able to attend school.
- Syrian refugees are legally banned from participating in the formal Jordanian economy. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of refugees participate in informal jobs often in the construction or agricultural sectors.
- Despite the focus on the negative aspects of Syrian refugees in Jordan, there are a number of positive aspects as well. The influx of refugees has led to an increase in public investment in addition to a growth in the communication, manufacturing and construction sectors; all of which has led to a real GDP growth rate increase of 2.7 percent according to the World Bank.
While the situation in Jordan is problematic, it is by no means hopeless. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace outlines a number of measures that can be taken to help improve the lives of both Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens. Increased humanitarian and developmental aid can be implemented to help meet the basic needs of refugees.
Allowing refugees access to formal employment will help create a more sustainable situation by allowing refugees to become more self-sufficient. Greater governmental aid can be provided to the Jordanian government to improve their capacity to manage the situation.
– James Long