Jordan minister: We're at max capacity on Syrian refugees

Published October 29th, 2014 - 07:22 GMT
Maryam, a refugee from Syria, smiles as her family talks with reporters in 2013 at Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp (Albawaba File Photo/J. Zach Hollo).
Maryam, a refugee from Syria, smiles as her family talks with reporters in 2013 at Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp (Albawaba File Photo/J. Zach Hollo).

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Tuesday said that Jordan, as a host country of more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, has become exhausted and reached its maximum capacity to provide assistance to refugees.

The official made these remarks at the Berlin Conference on Syrian Refugees, where he also cited Jordan’s already limited resources and the insufficiency of international support to the Kingdom in this regard.

He called on the world community to bear its responsibility in helping Jordan and other host countries continue their humanitarian mission, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier organised the one-day conference with the participation of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and more than 40 countries and organisations.

The conference aimed to discuss the conditions of Syrian refugees and host countries, in addition to supporting stability in the region, Petra reported.

Judeh said that until a political solution to the Syrian crisis is reached, there is an urgent need for a bigger international response to support host countries, foremost of which is Jordan.

The minister said Jordan needs $5 billion, according to a national plan for 2014-16, to be able to handle the repercussions of Syrian refugee influx.

He also said that Jordan, under the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah, has not closed its borders in front of the Syrians, and is now paying the price for that.

Jordanians have shared their houses, schools, hospitals, job opportunities and even the already scarce water with their Syrian brethren, which caused a huge burden on the national economy, he added.

The foreign minister said the Jordanian educational system has been hugely affected as a result of receiving more than 140,000 Syrian students, which made schools overcrowded and forced the Education Ministry to run schools in two shifts.

In the health sector, the number of Syrian refugees who seek health services has increased by 250 per cent, and the number of medical operations in public hospitals has increased by 600 per cent since the crisis started, Judeh added.

On the sidelines of the conference, Judeh met with Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and discussed ways to develop bilateral relations and latest regional developments.

Judeh and Mogherini signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Jordan and the EU.

Judeh expressed his support to Mogherini who will assume a new job in few days as high commissioner for EU foreign and security affairs.

Steinmeier said in addition to easing the hardships of the refugees themselves, the focus needed to be on international investment in hospitals, schools, water supplies and waste disposal systems in the neighbouring countries, AP reported.

“This is not only a question of more money. We also need to use the funding more effectively and more sustainably,” he said, according to AP.

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