EU grants Jordan $30 million for urgent refugee aid

Published November 2nd, 2015 - 08:30 GMT

The EU has allocated 28 million euros (around $30.9 million USD) to meet the urgent needs of Syrian refugees in their host communities in Jordan, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said Sunday. 

“Of course early in the next year, we will be ready to announce additional funding for Jordan and for refugees here,” Stylianides told reporters during a visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, some 90km northeast of Amman.

“Jordan… is a key partner for the European Union. We are deeply committed to continue this fruitful relationship,” he added. 

With the aid package announced Sunday, the total amount of humanitarian assistance provided by the EU since the start of the Syrian crisis is now 198 million euros, an EU statement said. 

The main objective of the new funding will be to help partner organisations prepare the most vulnerable refugee families for winter by providing cash assistance for heating, blankets and household items. 

The extra funding will also cover the basic needs of refugees and host communities, such as rent, healthcare and education, according to the statement.

Stylianides stressed that humanitarian assistance alone cannot put an end to Syrians’ enormous suffering. 

“Only a political solution can bring the Syria crisis to an end,” he said.

The EU commissioner met with a number of Syrian refugees residing in the camp and in Mafraq city who benefited from EU assistance, and listened to their concerns. 

Some of the refugees mentioned their desire to either leave for Europe or to return to Syria.

Stylianides also visited Oxfam’s community centre at the camp, where he watched a trailer for the documentary “District Zero”, produced by Oxfam with support from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department. 

“District Zero” follows the story of Maamun, a Syrian refugee who runs a mobile phone shop in the Zaatari camp, currently home to 79,284 refugees according to UNHCR, and helps his peers print out photos of happier times, according to Oxfam’s website.

Refugees who took part in film attended the meeting with the EU official, who praised Jordan’s efforts in supporting refugees. 

“Let me once again commend Jordan’s incredible hospitality. In particular, I want to commend the host communities, as we know they are hosting over 630,000 Syrian refugees,” the commissioner said.    

Abu Saed, who was among the Syrians that met with the EU official, called on the international community to support Jordan because “it is shouldering a heavy burden and has limited capabilities”.

Abu Saed, who has been in Jordan for three years, told The Jordan Times he wants to return to Syria despite the dangerous situation there.

“The lack of assistance provided is the reason behind my decision.  However, the EU official told me not to be in a hurry to go, because the EU will intensify its support,” he added. 

Mamoun Wadi, who has been in the camp for two years after leaving Daraa, Syria, said he does not plan to travel to Europe as many refugees have done recently.  

“Those who have no family are the ones who want to go to Europe. In the past, people believed that it would take them only three months to bring their family members to Europe, but the reality is totally different, because it would take more than a year to do so,” he explained.

By Muath Freij

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