Syrian Refugees in Jordan Part 2 – The current situation
The Jordanians have been incredibly generous and welcoming to their Syrian neighbors over the last three years.
This family is fortunate to be living in the furnished home of an extended family member.
Hospitality runs deeply through the culture, however as this war continues to rage the overwhelming influx of families is now impacting the lives of regular Jordanians. The cost of living is rising and resources are stretched and there is a growing tension . I was not ready for the answer to the obvious question about why families are living in the cities and not in the camps. Many of the families told of how they escaped the Zataari refugee camp. They told of an overcrowded environment with extreme desert weather conditions and uncontrolled activity of organised crime including girls regularly being ‘used’ by rich men from surrounding countries. For the families we met, these risks were not worth having a tent and food and so they escaped and headed for the cities. Many now live in apartments where the cost of rent, bills and consumables are increasing, work permits are few and far between, aid from NGO’s is decreasing and the Jordanian government are deporting those they find working illegally. Still they would rather live where they are than move back to the camps.
We often heard how the families would rather return and die in Syria than die as a refugee in Jordan. If the war doesn’t stop soon, the situation for tens of thousands will not be worth thinking about.