Funding Crunch Forces WFP to Scale Back Food Assistance to Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Photo: WFP/Mohammad Batah
Published June 3, 2021

AMMAN – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that 21,000 Syrian refugees will no longer receive their monthly food assistance as of July following a prioritization exercise driven by a shortage of funds.

Recent contributions from donors have averted wide-scale cuts that would have affected a larger number of people, but resources still fall well short of meeting the needs of all vulnerable refugees in Jordan. The U.N. World Food Programme urgently needs $58 million to continue food assistance until the end of the year for the half million refugees it supports.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. We have to make some difficult choices to stretch the limited resources we have and ensure that we meet the needs of the most vulnerable refugees. These are families who cannot put food on the table without U.N. World Food Programme assistance,” said Alberto Correia Mendes, the U.N. World Food Programme Representative and Country Director in Jordan. “These are painful choices. What’s more, if we do not receive further contributions. We may find ourselves having to cut food assistance for another quarter of a million refugees living outside the camps by September.”

The cuts are coming at the worst time for families, when many are struggling to earn money or have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent U.N. World Food Programme survey revealed that 68 percent of the refugees have seen their income drop since the beginning of the pandemic.

Food insecurity among refugees in Jordan has doubled in the last year to reach 25 percent. Two in three refugees – 64 percent – are on the edge of food insecurity.

Refugee families consider the U.N. World Food Programme’s assistance a lifeline. Refugees living in Zaatari and Azraq camps and extremely vulnerable families living in local communities receive $32 (JOD 23) per person each month, while refugees living outside camps who are classified as vulnerable receive monthly assistance of $21 (JOD 15) per person.

The U.N. World Food Programme urgently requires funding to continue assistance to vulnerable refugees, to stop families falling into further food insecurity and deeper poverty. The U.N. World Food Programme is working closely with partners including the Jordanian Government, donors, UN agencies and NGOs to raise the required funds.

“We are grateful to our donors for their long-standing support to Syrian refugees in Jordan over the last decade. Many of these refugees are now more vulnerable than ever, reeling from the economic impact of Covid-19, which has pushed hundreds of thousands into an ever more desperate situation and increased their humanitarian needs,” said Mendes. “We count on our donor support more than ever.”

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

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