The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan Announces the Resumption of Life-Saving Humanitarian Assistance at the Jordanian-Syrian Borders

(Amman, 22 November 2016) – On Tuesday 22 November 2016, The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan announced the resumption of life-saving humanitarian assistance to an estimated 85,000 stranded Syrian at the Jordanian-Syrian borders, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The resumption of assistance comes at the start of the coldest period of the year, when temperatures can drop dangerously low. Life-saving support includes food rations, bread deliveries, core relief items such as hygiene kits, diapers and jerry cans. Winter clothes and items such as blankets, plastic sheets and insulation kits are also being provided to help families weather the harsh winter ahead.

The delivery of food and relief items at Rukban is being channeled through a newly constructed distribution point. In addition, a new service facility is being constructed that includes a health clinic, water tanks and pumping station, along with facilities for meetings with community representatives. The clinic will provide primary healthcare, maternal and newborn services. Community representatives and health volunteers are central to the organization of distribution and identification of medical cases.

Humanitarian agencies have been unable to deliver consistent relief to the stranded Syrians after an attack on 21 June 2016 on Jordanian military personnel resulted in Jordan sealing off the area. Aside from the regular delivery of water, the only form of assistance was a one-off distribution of food and hygiene kits between 2-4 August. Conditions have deteriorated rapidly since then.

UN Agencies express their gratitude to the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Jordan Armed Forces – Arab Army for making this critical operation possible, and look forward to continued collaboration to ensure the regular delivery of assistance to Syrians living at the berm. UN Agencies also are grateful for the generous financial support received from donors. Jordan has a long history of hosting people fleeing conflict and today is the sixth largest refugee-hosting country in the world.

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Contacts:

IOM: Ms. Laila Tomeh, IOM Jordan, +962 796449696; ltomeh@iom.int

OCHA: Ms. Sarah Muscroft, UNOCHA Jordan, +962 79 8974078; muscroft@un.org

UNHCR: Ms. Hélène Daubelcour, UNHCR Jordan, +962798891307 ; daubelco@unhcr.org

UNICEF: M. Miraj Pradhan, UNICEF Jordan +962 790 214 191; mpradhan@unicef.org

WFP: Ms. Shada Moghraby, WFP Jordan; +962797280924; shada.moghraby@wfp.org

Office of the UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator: Ms. Nora Isayan, +962795392926; nora.isayan@one.un.org

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The writer, toby@law-democracy.org, is executive director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.