Jordan appeals for help to handle refugees

04 February 2016

Country has received 600,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has appealed for long-term aid from the international community to cope with the high influx of Syrian refugees into his country.

In an interview with the BBC on 2 February, Abdullah warned that the "dam is going to burst” unless the country received timely support. He said the situation has created pressure on Jordan’s infrastructure and for the government, and has been hurting its education and healthcare system.

Amman is understood to have accepted more than 600,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees.

The EU has said it will commit $2.2bn to aid Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Jordan’s economy has been struggling due to a slowdown in key sectors such as exports and agriculture, as well as the worsening regional instability. The Washington-based IMF downgraded its growth forecast for the country four times in 2015, from 3.8 per cent in May to 2.5 per cent in November 2015.

In August 2015, the IMF released the final disbursement of nearly $400m of the $2bn standby agreement (SBA) with Jordan, which was signed in 2012. The SBA has been built around the need to support the country’s economy in dealing with the aftermath of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

Nearly half of Jordan’s 6.7 million-strong population originates from the West Bank and Gaza in the Palestinian Authority, and from Syria and Iraq. Hosting the refugees has caused a major burden to the country’s struggling economy. This has been further exacerbated by the slow disbursement of pledges from international donors that have pledged commitment to help implement programmes to address the needs of the Syrian refugees.

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