Following a surge in donor activity over the last month, the UNHCR’s 2019 operations in the Kingdom are 44 per cent funded as of the beginning of October, according to the organisation.
This is up from 30 per cent in mid-August, when the UNHCR published its Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan mid-year report.
“Halfway through the year, we weren’t sure that we would be able to continue our cash assistance programme through the end of the year,” UNHCR Jordan spokesperson Lilly Carlisle told The Jordan Times over the phone on Monday.
“But thanks to this rise in funding, we will be able to complete the year, utilising funds mainly from the US and the UK,” she said, mentioning Canada as another major contributor who “stepped up” during the last month.
UNHCR Jordan currently provides monthly cash assistance totalling around $5 million to approximately 28,500 Syrian families and 2,500 refugee families of other nationalities, according to the organisation’s September 2019 report.
The programme targets the most vulnerable refugees, who reside outside refugee camps, the report continued, adding that some 78 per cent of Jordan’s refugees live below the poverty line and spend most of their cash assistance from the programme on rent.
Protection, said Carlisle, is among other streams that will benefit from recent donations, covering refugee registration and counselling for victims of gender-based violence.
Another category that functions on donor funding is healthcare, which is one of the most expensive programmes that UNHCR Jordan runs, Carlisle noted.
“We have emergency cases that come up, and we have a referral system for refugees in refugee camps. If someone has a health problem that can’t be addressed within the camp, we use our referral system to send them outside for treatment in Amman or another city,” she continued, noting that this system incurs a high cost.
“Healthcare is still a pretty outstanding need,” she added.
As of yet there is no funding for UNHCR Jordan’s seasonal cash programme, in which money is distributed to refugees during November and December for seasonal needs such as heating in the winter and clothing for children, Carlisle noted.
“We are appealing to donors because it’s quite urgent, especially since temperatures in the north of the country drop below freezing,” she said. “There’s a lot of rain, and flooding is a danger. Refugees might be living in housing that’s not fully waterproof. There were cases in previous winters where we had to step in in emergency cases and provide plastic sheeting and installation.”
Of the UNHCR’s total need for $371.8 million in funding for 2019, $163 million has been donated thus far, according to the report. The outstanding need comes to $209 million.
If the organisation does not receive the remaining 56 per cent of needs for 2019, Carlisle said, “we won’t be able to meet as many needs as we would like. For example, we might be able to do fewer healthcare referrals, and provide cash assistance to fewer families”.
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