Syrian refugee children in Jordan are living in desperate conditions | Credit: ANSA
Syrian refugee children in Jordan are living in desperate conditions | Credit: ANSA

According to the UN agency for children, the situation for Syrian refugee families living in host communities in Jordan has deteriorated over the last two years. With a huge funding shortfall for 2018, UNICEF is struggling to meet the needs of children and young people.

A recent UNICEF assessment on Syrian refugees living in host communities in Jordan has painted a grim picture. The UN agency found that 85 percent of Syrian children are living in poverty and 38 percent do not attend school. As well, 94 percent of Syrian children under the age of five are described as being "multidimensionally poor," which means that they do not have access to at least two out of the following five basic needs: education, health, water and sanitation, child protection and child safety.  Further, many children under five do not have a birth certificate, which will present ongoing problems as they get older.

UNICEF's findings are based on responses from about 1,000 families from among Jordan's 660,000 registered refugees. Around 5.5 million Syrians have fled their homeland since was broke out in 2011. Most have settled in neighboring countries where they face poverty and alienation. Millions more have been displaced inside Syria.

"With the unparalleled massive scale of the Syria crisis and its prolonged nature, Jordan needs continued support in order to manage the impact of this crisis and meet the needs of vulnerable children," said Robert Jenkins, UNICEF representative in Jordan, in a press release. "Seven years into this crisis, we need to collectively continue to do all that we can to support vulnerable refugee children and their families that are struggling to meet their basic needs."

Many Syrians have now spent years living outside their homeland, with little prospect of moving forward in host communities. Maha Homsi, UNICEF's chief of child protection in Jordan, told The Associated Press that many Syrians are facing a situation where their savings are now depleted and they are looking to survive in "negative ways," such as allowing daughters to marry before the age of 18 and sending teen boys to work.

The situation is further compounded by the fact that UNICEF in Jordan has a funding shortage of $145.7 million in 2018.


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