10 Facts About The Syrian Refugee Crisis In Jordan

World Food Program USA
December 26, 2018
Photo: WFP/Laure Chadraoui
  1. Since the start of the conflict in Syria, Jordan has shouldered the impact of a massive refugee influx across its borders. Today, Syrian refugees account for nearly 10 percent of the kingdom’s population, placing substantial pressure on its over-stretched resources at one of the most difficult economic periods in the country’s history.
  2. More than 670,000 Syrians have been registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The vast majority of these refugees—81 percentlive in cities and towns instead of camps, where they mainly rely on themselves to cover rent, transportation and medical costs. A limited number of refugees have work permits, thus most of these families rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs.
  3. Right now, around 40,000 Syrians are stranded at the northeastern border between Jordan and Syria in an informal settlement called Rukban. The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), along with other U.N. agencies and NGOs, have been providing food assistance to this population. Humanitarian access, however, remains difficult due to security risks and border closures.
  4. In November 2018, a convoy of humanitarian agencies, including WFP, reached Rukban with lifesaving food and supplies for the first time. Previously, it had reached the settlement only by two 230-foot cranes.

    Photo: WFP/Shaza Moghraby

    The berm operation provided some 75,000 people with much-need food and humanitarian supplies.

  5. Though most Syrian refugees in Jordan live in host communities, the country is now home to the second largest refugee camp in the world. Known as Zaatari, the camp first opened in 2012 less than 10 miles from the Syrian border and has since become Jordan’s 4th largest “city.” Today, 78,000 Syrian refugees live there in rows of prefabricated shelters provided by international relief agencies.
    Photo: U.S. State Department

    An aerial view of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan as seen on July 18, 2013, from a helicopter carrying U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

  6. In Jordan, all eligible Syrian refugees receive a monthly cash or food voucher from WFP, which enables them to purchase food items in WFP’s 204 partner shops throughout the country. Families in refugee camps also receive fresh bread. WFP is currently providing food assistance to 500,000 refugees in Jordan.
  7. Half of all Syrian refugees in Jordan are children. To help keep these children healthy and in the classroom, WFP provides nutritious school meals that boost enrollment and attendance rates.

    Photo: UNICEF

    Syrian schoolchildren line up for assembly in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

  8. In Spring 2016, WFP launched its first “Healthy Kitchens Initiative” in the Zaatari camp, in which Syrian women are employed to cook fresh, healthy school lunches for the camp’s boys and girls using locally grown vegetables, grains and fruit. These homegrown school meals provide children in need with the right nutrition and energy to focus in the classroom while supporting local food producers and providing jobs to primarily female-headed households in Zaatari.
  9. Since July 2016, The Jordanian government has granted more than 100,000 work permits to Syrian refugees, allowing them to work legally and earn an income for their families.
  10. By distributing cash and food vouchers instead of traditional rations, WFP provides a fresher and more diverse diet to Syrian refugees while supporting the country’s economy. As of July 2016, WFP had injected roughly $581 million into Jordan’s economy.