UN World Food Program cuts refugee aid due to funding shortage

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Starting from July, the UN World Food Program (WFP) has reduced the monthly assistance provided to needy families residing outside the camps to one-third of its previous value. This reduction affects 75 percent of the 465,000 refugees who were previously receiving monthly support. The reason cited for this reduction is “funding shortages.” اضافة اعلان

According to a WFP report, the value of assistance for resident families outside the camps of refugees classified as "most in need of food assistance" will reach JD15 per person/month instead of JD23 per person/month, Alrai reported.

As for the families of refugees classified as "moderately in need of food assistance" outside the camps, the value of the assistance they usually receive, which is JD15 per person/month, will become JD10 per person/month.

Assistance inside the camps will remain the same
However, the value of food assistance for all registered refugee families inside the camps will remain the same at JD23 per person/month, provided that the World Program continues to provide funding, according to the program.

The financial requirements for implementing projects related to the WFP for the current year amount to $230 million, of which only $109 million was available until May.

According to the program's strategic plan for the years (2023-2027), the financial requirements amount to approximately $997 million for five years, while the financial requirements for the next six months from June to November to implement its projects amount to $122.4 million, including $115.8 million to cover the food needs of 465,000 refugees in camps and communities, while maintaining the current monthly cash transfers.

FM highlights funding shortage exacerbates suffering of refugees
Previously, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi highlighted the lack of funding could further exacerbate the suffering of refugees, with host countries to bear the burden. During a press conference in Budapest, he called on the international community to take practical steps to provide necessary support.

Support for 975,000 beneficiaries
WFP provided vital assistance to approximately 975,000 beneficiaries in Jordan through various programs in May, according to a report on WFP operations. With financial requirements amounting to $122.4 million for a six-month period from June to November, the WFP is actively addressing food shortages and limited resources in the country.

Jordan faces multiple challenges, including food shortages, dwindling energy and water resources, and limited agricultural land.

Furthermore, the country shoulders the social, economic, and environmental burden of hosting around 660,000 Syrian refugees and 80,000 refugees from other nationalities registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Nutritional awareness campaign
Meanwhile, the organization launched the second phase of its nutritional awareness campaign, targeting pregnant and lactating refugee women in host communities. Through social media and interactive activities, the program aims to improve nutrition, habits, and health for women facing anemia and high-risk pregnancies.

Supporting the National School Feeding Program managed by the Ministry of Education, the WFP resumed school feeding activities in May. Over 400,000 students received date biscuits in camps and local communities, while more than 83,000 students enjoyed healthy meals.

In May, the WFP provided food assistance to approximately 456,000 refugees in camps and host communities through cash transfers amounting to $13.9 million. The majority of beneficiaries were Syrian refugees (96 percent), with the rest coming from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and other countries.

Negative coping strategies
Despite improvements in overall food security for refugees, a WFP-conducted Food Security Index highlighted vulnerable family categories, including those headed by women, unemployed individuals, and families with members with disabilities. These family’s resort to negative coping strategies, impacting their long-term ability to meet basic needs.

25 percent in debt
Alarming statistics revealed a 25 percent increase in average debt among refugees in camps and host communities over a year. Most of this debt is incurred for essential needs such as food, rent, and healthcare, rather than income generation or commercial investment.

Jordan's unemployment rate reached 22 percent in the first quarter of 2023, showing a slight decrease of 0.9 percent compared to the previous quarter. However, youth unemployment remains a pressing concern, with a staggering rate of 46 percent.

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