UN Agencies Deliver Urgent Relief To People Stranded At Syria-Jordan Border

Published August 4, 2016

AMMAN – World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director-General William Lacy Swing today announced the successful completion of a relief operation to provide more than 75,000 people with food and humanitarian relief items.

Statement by the heads of WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF, and IOM:

“Today the World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF completed an urgent relief operation to provide a one-month ration of desperately-needed food and hygiene supplies to more than 75,000 people who are trapped along a land embankment, or berm, at the Syria-Jordan border.

“Unable either to cross the border or turn back, the situation facing these women, men and children has grown more dire by the day.  Sheltering in makeshift tents in harsh desert conditions with temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius and sudden sand storms, they are without sufficient food and have barely enough water to survive. Life-saving health care is also urgently required. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and the sick are especially vulnerable.

“We thank the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for supporting this critical operation, and we look forward to further efforts to reach people at the berm with humanitarian assistance in time to save their lives.”

An estimated 75,000 people fleeing conflict in Syria are living in makeshift shelters along the border area, or the berm, that runs along the Syria-Jordan border. Jordan sealed the berm area more than a month ago following an attack at a Jordanian border post. Before the border closure, UN agencies and aid organizations regularly delivered aid from Jordan’s territory to Syrians stranded on the other side of the berm. 

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries. www.wfp.org

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.  Today, a staff of more than 9,300 people in more than 120 countries continues to help and protect millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people. www.unhcr.org 

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.

A new member of the UN family, IOM is the world’s leading Migration Agency and an indispensable actor in the field of human mobility. The organization assists an estimated 20 million migrants annually and has 165 member states. Founded 65 years ago, IOM’s mandate includes protection of migrants and displaced people in migration-affected communities, as well as in areas of refugee resettlement and voluntary returns, and incorporates migration in country development plans. More at www.iom.int.

For more information please contact:
Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 346 7600521, jane.howard@wfp.org
Ariane Rummery, UNHCR/Geneva +41 79 200 7617, rummery@unhcr.org
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF/New York +1 212 326 7133, mmercado@unicef.org
Leonard Doyle, IOM/Geneva, Mob. +41792857123, ldoyle@iom.int