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Jordan appeals for international support for refugees

February 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Jordan’s Minister of Health has appealed for international support to help the country deal with one million refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. Mjalli Mheilan said that the influx is putting great pressure on medical and health resources in the Kingdom.

“The health ministry needs urgent assistance of around $355 million just to address the current and expected health requirements of the Syrian refugees,” he said. “We need international intervention and support in order to maintain Jordan’s health sector so that it can cope with the extra demands placed on it.”

Although the health situation in Jordan is still “under control”, negative signs have started to appear. “Hospitals are no longer able to accommodate the large number of people who need their facilities,” said the minister, “and they are expected to run out of essential drugs soon.”

Until recently, the Jordanian authorities put the number of Syrian refugees at 478,000; the official UN figure is 385,000. New UN estimates are that the figure will reach 1.2 million by the end of the year. The UN says that 250,000 of the Syrian refugees in Jordan are children.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) said last Friday, “We expect these numbers to more than double by July and triple by December.” This was confirmed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. If the forecast is correct, this would be the equivalent of one-fifth of Jordan’s population.