The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Jordan has received only 20 per cent of its financial requirements for 2019, according to its operational update for May. The UNHCR reported on Tuesday that as of 21 May, it had received only $74 million of the $371.8 million needed for refugee assistance and protection this year.
Jordan is one of the countries most heavily affected by the refugee crisis and hosts the second-highest number of refugees per capita, a large majority of whom are Syrian. Since the kingdom borders Syria, Iraq and Palestine, the constant political turmoil in the region has put the Jordanian economy under immense pressure.
The UNHCR is the main agency at work for refugees in Jordan and depends almost entirely on voluntary contributions from governments, corporations and private individuals to fund their operations. This underfunding is especially detrimental to Jordan which already suffers from strained social services and a public debt of 28.3 billion dinars ($39.9 billion), almost equal to the country’s economic output.
A resource-poor country, Jordan depends on foreign aid to cope with the influx of refugees and to keep its own economy afloat. The Trump administration’s decision to end funding to UNRWAand similar aid organisations in the region have had a knock-on effect on Jordan’s economy.