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World Bank Prepares Emergency Project to Help Jordanians Manage Impact of Syrian Refugees

May 23, 2013

“Acute pressure on Jordan’s local authorities to maintain services”

AMMAN, May 23 2013 – The World Bank today announced a special package of US$150 million in financial support to the Government of Jordan to help the authorities manage the impact of the Syrian civil war from which more than half a million people are estimated to have fled across Jordan’s border. The influx of refugees is affecting the livelihoods of Jordan’s host communities and access to public services and basic commodities is under pressure.

“Today I visited the town of Mafraq and the Zaatari refugee camp,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “I saw Jordan’s generous hosting communities struggling with the enormous inflows of people seeking shelter and protection. And at Mafraq I saw municipalities bursting at the seams. There is acute pressure on local authorities to maintain service delivery and that is where our funding can help.”

Andersen said World Bank assistance, not yet finalized, will take the shape of a program of emergency support to help the Jordanian authorities finance public service expenditures associated with the influx of refugees from Syria. The program could also be used to support household staples like bread and cooking gas. In addition the Bank will leverage donor support to strengthen service delivery in municipalities that are hosting the majority of Syrian refugees.

The World Bank’s commitment comes in recognition of the severity of the crisis facing Jordan. The growing number of refugees has resulted in Jordanians suffering, especially the poor and more vulnerable communities but increasingly the middle class too. There are stresses on the delivery of health and education services and on water supply and electricity. Competition for jobs has driven wages down while prices have risen for basic necessities, fuel and rental accommodation.

“Witnessing the agony of the Syrian people is heartrending but what we can all do now is step up and make sure that social tensions don’t grow among the various communities who are so generously hosting the refugees,”
said Andersen. “The World Bank’s contribution is part of our broader program of engagement with Jordan in which we are helping build resilience to the current and future impacts of the regional crisis while supporting the country’s ongoing economic reform program.”

So far, smaller amounts of support from the World Bank include a US$1.2 million grant from the State and Peace-building Fund for a local livelihoods pilot program and a further US$4 million from Canadian CIDA channeled through the Bank, also to support livelihoods in affected communities.

The emergency support program designed to help mitigate the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on Jordanian citizens will be finalized with the Government of Jordan in the coming weeks.

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