Syrian Refugees in Jordan need Control

It has been a terrible couple of years for Syrians who were murdered, had their houses destroyed, and were unable to earn enough money to feed their families. Many have left to Jordan, the only safe haven in a troubled area full of bloodshed and chaos.
There are almost a million refugees there, a third of them are in the United Nation camps. The biggest Al-Zaatari camp has become the sixth biggest city of Jordan. The United Nations have done a good job of setting them up, providing basic salaries for them and giving them a smart card coupons system to get necessary food. The other supportive NGO’s have also supported the refugees with other accessories so that playing grounds for children and toys are quite common within the camp. While everyone is happy that we were able to alleviate some of their hardship we haves failed to see the negative result of this support on the local communities in Jordan.
Mafraq, a previously small village filled with bedouins has become a large town where the majority are Syrians. The streets of this town are now ruined by the constant passage of heavy trucks that deliver water and food to the camp, the waste disposal process has been overwhelmed by the large influx of people into that town, the hospitals are filled all the time and the schools work two shifts just to support the extra demand.
The Syrians have taken many jobs meant for Jordanians for very low wages just to supplement their UN salary. Yesterday, a riot broke at the camp which led to the injury of 22 policemen and many Syrians as some families decided to illegally escape from the camp into Jordan to earn a better living and get more of those limited jobs. The food, heaters and even the tents they got from the UN are being sold on the side of the main road to the camp to bring in an extra income. This however has put many small Jordanian shops who sell such items out of business.
The medicines that were barely enough to support the Jordanians in the local villages of the north are now never enough. Most Jordanians are disgruntled about the decline of level of education in their schools and the long lines in their clinics to get only a small portion of the medicines they need. The Syrians are quickly outstaying their welcome in this hospitable country that initially empathized with their struggle for democracy.
It is a difficult situation but solutions are also available. A work permit for Syrians (like Egyptians) would help channel the jobs that Syrians take into the fields that are needed in Jordan. For example, there are many Syrian skilled laborers (e.g. carpenters, plumbers) that are badly needed in Jordan and would enrich the Jordanian economy but taking the few other jobs that Jordanians are desperate for will only bring bad feelings among two neighborly nations.
The UN can buy health insurance for the refugees so that the Jordanian ministry of health gets some funding for the support it gave and has been giving with little international support. NGO’s can help build new schools in the north of Jordan to support the Jordanian government that is struggling to make ends meet after a downturn in the local economy for the last three years as a result of the Arab Spring.
The international community has been quite supportive of Jordan’s role in the Syrian crisis but the financial support has been less forthcoming. Jordanians are realizing that even if the Syrian issue is resolved in the next three months, it is unlikely that the refugees will go home in the coming three years. This is built on previous experience with Palestinian and Iraqi refugees who are still in Jordan decades later. The current situation cannot continue as is. I hope Jordan’s friends can financially help Jordan so it can fix its roads and create more jobs for its people. More importantly, I hope the UN will take heed and play a proactive role in controlling the refugees situation in Jordan before it leads to more unwanted strife and hardship in the area. Only this time the UN will be blamed.

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Twitter: @Deema22
Deema I. Alam

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Syrian Refugees in Jordan need Control

  1. Mahmud Turjuman

    The world should remember that Jordan has suffered from many forced migrations that international community did not deal with it up to what it is supposed to, the UN and the NGO’s cannot compensate water, energy, education, health, infrastructure that was build and setup by Jordanian for Jordanians, and suddenly they have to share it with Palestinians, Iraqis and Syrians. Jordan is not rich with its natural resources, and UN should start immediately thinking of Jordan and Jordanians as much as they think of the refugees, refugees acknowledged many times on media that they get enough meat and chicken every day, while many Jordanians cannot afford it may be once a week or less. Jordanians entitles to provide their children with proper education and health, but now they share it with refugees. I disagree with you Deema, International community were not supportive enough to Jordan, they were supportive to the refugees, and I believe Jordan is bearing the consequences, they provide the refugees with their needs using Jordanian infrastructure, and at the end Jordan has to deal with security issues. 5000 refugees attack Jordanian police, 22 police were injured while only 3 refugees suffered minor injuries. The whole world should be blamed for what is going on here, and I believe they know very well that majority of Syrian refugees will never ever return back to Syria, at least they enjoy peace and democracy, their kids study at the most advanced educational system in the region, and they enjoy the most advanced health care in the region at the expense of the ordinary Jordanian citizen.

  2. What can we say if this is a destiny of Jordan and Jordanians,,, that they have the (النخوة والفزعه والشهامه ) pride and magnanimity,,, extend a helping hand always to the Arab brothers, including suffer from persecution and hwan ( اضطهاد ) of their governments and therefore we did not complain days of sharing a living with our brothers from the Arab brothers, as well as embrace and comforted, and all of this stems from a tolerant religion then what we Onamh ( Allah ) of generous people and the leadership of unique, May allah protect Jordan and Allah protect our leadership, Amen ،،، آآآآآآمين

    • totally agree with you Sultan, this is our destiny, but we should always be very careful Jordan should be always safe to be able to take all this pressure