The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched an appeal on Wednesday for $27 million to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in Jordan, particularly among refugees.
The emergency funding is part of a global appeal which calls for $255 million to ''urgently support preparedness and response measures for refugees and those forcibly displaced'', UNHCR said on a statement on its website.
The money will go to maintaining essential services, such as hospital and clinics, as well as being funnelled directly towards refugee camps to provide immediate cash assistance and enhance capacity to intervene in urgent referrals for domestic violence cases, the statement added.
So far, the UNHCR has been able to contribute no more than $1.2 million to the Hashemite Kingdom's Ministry of Health, procuring medical equipment and laboratory tests.
While refugees are not yet counted among the 260 confirmed cases and five deaths in Jordan, fears run rampant over a possible outbreak among a community numbering 750,000 refugees, representing over 50 nationalities.
For the millions of refugees displaced from their homes fleeing war in the Middle East, social distancing is a privilege from which they are deprived in the highly cramped, overcrowded conditions of refugee camps.
Regular hand-washing is also compounded by limited access to running water.
In Jordan, refugee camps have been placed under lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
Karl Shembri, a Jordan-based media adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council told The New Arab of the critical importance of cash assistance for refugees to purchase basic necessities at a time of curfew because of their reliance on the informal economy.
''Refugees depend on their daily work, most of them don't have contracts. The day they cannot go to work, they have nothing to eat, no way to survive'', he said.
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