UNHCR reports lack of winter aid for MENA refugees

Zaatari UNHCR tent
(Photo: Twitter/X)
AMMAN — The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported a lack of assistance for refugees in the ongoing winter season of 2023-2024 in the Middle East and North Africa region, including Jordan, due to a funding shortage.اضافة اعلان

In a recent report, the UNHCR revealed its inability to provide essential aid, such as cash assistance and basic relief aid, which had previously been offered to the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons. This aid aimed to assist them in coping with severe weather conditions prevalent in countries like Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, which collectively accommodate over 2.3 million registered refugees and asylum seekers, Khaberni reported.

The UNHCR's winter strategy focuses on three key areas: providing seasonal cash assistance to vulnerable families, distributing basic winter relief items like blankets and clothing, and improving shelter and infrastructure in preparation for winter.

However, during the previous winter season of 2022-2023, the agency faced a funding shortfall, receiving only $103.2 million out of the requested $250 million. Consequently, the agency was unable to provide winter assistance in Egypt and reached fewer than 2.6 million refugees, marking a significant decrease from the 2021-2022 winter season’s response.

In Jordan, the agency provided cash assistance to over 116,500 refugee families, totaling about 473,600 individuals, both inside and outside camps for the winter season. This assistance targeted the most vulnerable families to address their increased basic needs during the winter months. Additionally, the agency received over 60,000 pieces of winter clothing from a clothing company and distributed them to refugees and vulnerable Jordanians across the country in the last quarter of 2023.

Last winter, families receiving regular assistance and those residing in camps received a ‘reduced’ package valued at JD70 per family. Meanwhile, families not benefiting from cash assistance and encountering severe risks were provided with JD95.

Due to reduced funding, the UNHCR announced a reduction in cash support for refugees outside camps starting in May, attributing it to decreased donor support. The agency cited insufficient funding as the reason for reducing cash assistance starting in May 2024, promising to continue supporting the most vulnerable groups, albeit with a 25 percent reduction in monthly cash assistance for refugee families outside camps compared to previous levels.

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