The influx of refugees is one of the Jordan's water crisis causes

[05-04-2022 09:41 AM]

BY Dr.Osama Gazal

The water scarcity and limited water resources come together in Jordan with other driving forces and pressures which can be categorized according to DPSIR Framework by Gazal (2021) into three main pressures: Climate change, agricultural activities, and the refugees. The effects of refugees are briefly discussed in this article.

The 2020 Population and Houses Census in Jordan indicates that due to the refugee waves several sudden rounds of increasing the pressure on water resources and water authorities to meet the increasing demand of water for all sectors: despite a local growth rate of 2.2 %, there is a massive increase in population, mainly due to the sudden influx of refugees from other countries, mainly Syria and Iraq recently. A process that brings serious pressure on Jordanian scarce and depleted water resources. From the early 1900s to today, Jordan has witnessed waves of refugees (Druze, Chechens, Armenians, Circassians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Yemenis, Libyans, and Syrians, According to the Population Projections for the Kingdom’s Residents During the Period 2015–2050) (Table ‎2 2). The number of Syrian refugees registered in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan reached 673,957 in 28th Feb 2022. But the number of Syrian refugees within Jordan's borders was estimated to be about 1.4 million by official governmental surveys. According to Gazal (2021) 83 % of them live outside the camps in the Jordanian cities and about 124,444 people living in three major camps (Azraq, the Emirati Jordanian camp (Murijeb-Alfhoud), and Zaatari) according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The estimated number of refugees from all neighboring countries in Jordan in 2015 was 2,890,138 , and other estimates indicate that the actual number of Syrian refugees alone is 2,7 million.

The percentages of refugees in Jordan by nationality are, 87.9 % Syrian 9 % Iraqi 2 % Yamani’s 0.8 % Sudanese 0.1 % Somali 0.2 % different nationalities. According to UNRWA about 2.3 Palestinian refugees registered at UNRWA programs, 400 thousand of them live in refugee camps in the main Jordanian cities. Then the vast majority of Palestinian refugees entered Jordan during the last century have the Jordanian nationality, except for some 158,000 'ex-Gazan' refugees according to the UNRWA (Palestinians who fled from Gaza to Jordan in the aftermath of the June 1967 hostilities). The recent UNHCR list of the top twenty countries to have granted protection to refugees in the 21st century by comparing the number of refugees to the national population of a host country confirmed that Lebanon topped this list with 206 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants. While Jordan (88) and Nauru (39) ranked second and third, respectively. But Jordan can be considered to be at the top of this list by returning to the previous paragraph which showed the vast number of Palestinian refugees got the Jordanian nationality since the last century while the recent UNHCR list compared the number of registered refuges to the national population while in Jordan big part of the national population come from Palestine during the last century and have the Jordanian nationality. The President of the Arab Thought Forum (ATF) His Royal Highness Prince Al Hassan bin Talal, claimed in 2011 that Jordan's population, without the refugees waves in modern Jordan's history, was projected to reach only two and half million (

The population number has increased and shifting lifestyle consumption and the need for more agricultural activities besides the availability of cheap labor in the agricultural sector causes an agricultural expanding. His Royal Highness Prince Prince Al Hassan in 2015 discussed in his Arab Economic Charter book /volume 9 the situation of Jordan, as the third country to host refugees in the world today relative to the number of indigenous people in this small geographical area, is facing a major challenge to meet the rising water demands.

Despite the difficult conditions of life in Jordan mainly due to the scarcity of water and fossil energy sources, according to the honorable Hashemite approach (The heirs of Islam's and humanity's message, the values and principles of the Great Arab Revolution, the grandchildren of God's greatest Arab Messenger), the issue of refugees has become secondary to the humanitarian duty owed to those who sought refuge in Jordan, the Royal Hashemite leadership and Jordanian people to secure needs, particularly water, and thus the borders were not closed, but rather sought to be opened. The successive decision makers of the water sector develop strategic and emergency plans to mitigate crises and optimize resource management, as well as study and implement strategic projects based on available financial capabilities. To be absolutely essential, Jordan's water sector's top priority strategic projects have become seawater and brackish groundwater desalination, which will be the future solution to Jordan's water crises.

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