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Jordan’s appeal for help to care for Syrian refugees

(Vatican Radio) The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) in Jordan is calling on the international community to help Amman meet the growing needs of Syrian refugees flooding over the border into Jordan. CNEWA’s regional Director, Ra’ed Bahou told Vatican Radio that some 300,000 Syrian refugees are in Jordan now but, given the current economic crisis, the government is unable to cover the costs alone.

“The situation of refugees coming from Syria is..they are in a very desperate situation,” says Bahou. “We have 300,000 Syrian people in Jordan. 60,000 in a camp called Zaatari camp, the majority are Muslims in these camps. The conditions in these camps are very difficult."

Rigid temperatures and beating rain has made much of this winter miserable for the refugees, huddled around stoves in makeshift tents - causing serious health and safety concerns.

"The cost to the (Jordanian) government is 2 million dollars a day which the government can’t cover actually. And the NGOs working in the field… it’s not enough to cover the needs of these Syrians.”

The Jordanian government has appealed to the international community to help it during the crisis.

“They are appealing to the international community but it seems there are many politics behind that. (It seems) there is a price Jordan needs to pay. Some are giving and some are not giving but what we’re receiving is not enough for the Syrians to live in at least acceptable conditions.”

A small Catholic aid agency, CNEWA provides what help it can to the refugees, including distributing food, clothing and sanitary supplies; offering education, counselling and catechesis.

Listen to the extended interview with CNEWA’s Regional Director Bahou: RealAudioMP3