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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations



Jordan, a safe haven for refugees since the start of the Syria crisis in 2011, hosts the third highest number of Syrian refugees in the world. Most live in cities, while others mainly reside in Azraq and Zaatari camps.

Despite the strain of the refugee influx on Jordan’s economy, communities continue to live in relative harmony. However, life has recently become harder for refugees and vulnerable Jordanians due to the consequences of COVID-19. The EU is a significant aid contributor, supporting both refugees and host communities.

What are the needs?

According to the United Nations, 83% of Syrian refugees outside camps in Jordan live below the poverty line. Most Syrian families rely on humanitarian aid at a time of aid cuts and economic crisis, compounded by COVID-19.

In refugee camps, essential services have been maintained. Health safety measures were put in place to protect from COVID-19.

However, urban refugees and host communities struggle to access basic services and earn an income. Instead of going to school, some refugee children are sent to work or get married at a young age.

With a third ongoing COVID-19 wave and cases rising again, the government is planning new country-wide restrictions. These could once again impact the access to basic services and income opportunities of the refugee population and vulnerable communities.

Some 10,000 people are stranded in a no-go military zone on Jordan’s north-eastern border, in the informal settlement of Rukban. Its population consists mostly of Syrian women and children.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, these stranded people no longer have access to lifesaving health and nutrition services in Jordan. 

With limited prospects of returning to Syria, refugees need better access to social services, health care and economic opportunities to help them become more independent.

Jordan country map

How are we helping?

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, the EU has channelled roughly €3.2 billion to Jordan through humanitarian, development and macro-financial assistance. Of this total, humanitarian aid amounts to over €392 million.

In 2021, the EU mobilised €17 million in humanitarian assistance. This includes €2 million to help Jordan tackle the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and build the camps health system’s resilience to future surges.

EU humanitarian aid provides health care, multi-purpose cash assistance, water and sanitation, education, and protection.

We support people in Zaatari, Azraq, Emirati Jordanian camps and Rukban, but also Syrian and non-Syrian refugees who live outside of the camps. Providing essential services in villages and towns across the country also benefits vulnerable Jordanian families.

Various programmes address the specific needs of women and children, who make up more than 50% of the refugee population.

Since the first reported COVID-19 case in early March 2020, EU partners have closely monitored the epidemiological situation inside the refugee camps, under the Ministry of Health leadership.

They have also stepped up prevention and preparedness measures and trained health staff.

The EU supports health interventions focused on immediate lifesaving in specific locations – especially where refugees and vulnerable Jordanians struggle to access health services. Our assistance focuses on sexual and reproductive health care and cash for health interventions.

Awareness campaigns have ensured that refugee families are protected and have access to hygiene products. 

Vaccination is taking place in the camps at an increasing pace. An estimated 53% of the eligible camp population have received at least one dose by the end of November 2021.

To address educational needs, EU-funded programmes ensure quality schooling for vulnerable children, including those with disabilities.

Innovative approaches are used to help out-of-school children find their way into the formal education system. The aim is to achieve inclusive education and an environment that systematically protects vulnerable children.

Since schools had been closed, homeschooling has been supported through creative tools, with follow up via phone, video and chat services. 

Syrian refugees in Jordan without updated documentation are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The lack of official documents limits their freedom of movement. It prevents them from entering the labour market and accessing essential services such as healthcare and education.

Therefore, the EU is supporting the UN Refugee Agency and a consortium of partner organisations to help regularise the status of refugees without proper registration.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of communication, registration teams continue to operate remotely, using innovative technologies and security procedures. In addition, working on sexual and gender-based violence issues is also a high protection priority.

Mutual commitments exist between the EU and Jordan. They follow pledges made at a London conference in 2016 and the Brussels-Syria conferences that have taken place yearly since 2017.

The Brussels conferences have successfully mobilised international financial support for Syrians and their host communities, both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.

Last updated: 17/01/2022
Picture: © European Union (photographer: Peter Biro)

Facts & figures

More than 759,500 refugees in Jordan:

  • 672,000 from Syria
  • 87,000 from other countries

EU humanitarian funding:
€17 million in 2021
€392 million to Syrian refugees and host communities since 2011