UNHCR appeals for $27 Million to help Refugees, Jordanians combat COVID-19

31-03-2020 09:59 AM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - The UNHCR is appealing for $27 million to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in Jordan as part of a global appeal which calls for $255 million to urgently support preparedness and response measures for refugees and those forcibly displaced.

In a statement, the UNHCR said the money needed for Jordan will go towards maintaining essential services such as hospitals and clinics, including in refugee camps, procuring medical equipment, providing urgent cash assistance and stepping up life-saving protection interventions such as urgent referrals for domestic violence cases and other forms of gender-based violence.

Thanks to funding already received from the Government of Japan, UNHCR this week contributed $1.2 million to the Ministry of Health to aid the procurement of medical equipment, laboratory tests and personal protective equipment (PPE). A key reminder that the coronavirus outbreak can only be addressed through international solidarity and cooperation.

To date in Jordan there have been no cases of refugees who have contracted the coronavirus but UNHCR continues to observe the negative impact of measures to prevent the spread of the virus on refugee families as well as the local Jordanian host community. With many refugees relying on the informal economy for work, the effects of a reduced number of job opportunities on vulnerable individuals has already been stark.

"Over the last two weeks at UNHCR, colleagues across the organization have received hundreds of enquiries from vulnerable refugee families requesting additional support because of the dire financial situation they are finding themselves in. We hope that funds raised through this appeal will go some way in alleviating the challenges they are facing as well as supporting the Government of Jordan in implementing a comprehensive and inclusive response," said UNHCR Jordan Representative, Dominik Bartsch.

Under measures brought in by the Government of Jordan to curb the spread of the virus, UNHCR has closed its registration and community centers across the country and suspended in-person interviews and counselling. Despite this, operations to protect refugees in Jordan are ongoing. Essential staff are on the ground in Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps daily and elsewhere staff across the operation continue to work on a remote basis, maximizing digital and online channels to support refugees during this difficult time.

In addition, essential services, such as hospitals, clinics and supermarkets, remain open in refugee camps and electricity provision has also been enhanced to over 14 hours a day to support children who are studying via TV and e-learning platforms. Refugees across the Kingdom continue to adhere and practice social distancing and follow health advisories shared by UNHCR and the Ministry of Health.

The appeal which feeds into the global UN call for $2 billion of funding, launched last week, aims at supporting countries in responding to the Corona Virus. For Jordan, which has continued to welcome and host approximately 750,000 refugees from 52 nationalities, the impact of 256 confirmed coronavirus cases has already put an additional strain on infrastructure and services. In order to ensure that all those who call the Kingdom home, including refugees, can continue to access the healthcare and support they need these additional funds are desperately needed.

"At UNHCR we continue to have a productive and very cooperative working relationship with the Government of Jordan and a variety of specialized line ministries. The challenges facing refugees are, on the whole, the same challenges that are facing vulnerable Jordanians and together we can stop the spread of this virus," concluded UNHCR Jordan Representative, Dominik Bartsch.

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