British aid to help Jordan cope with Syrian refugees

AFP , Sunday 13 Oct 2013

Jordan, Syria's neighbor, is currently hosting more than 500,000 refugees who caused a huge financial burden for the government

Britain said on Sunday it will give Jordan £12 million ($19 million, 14 million euros) to help local communities in the country cope with hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

"Jordan will receive urgently needed support to keep essential public services running and prevent tensions between local people and growing numbers of Syrian refugees," British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said.

"The United Kingdom will provide £12 million over the next two years to ensure that local Jordanian municipal governments can meet the needs of both host communities and refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria," she was quoted as saying in an embassy statement.

Jordan is hosting more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, mostly in the north, including in the Zaatari refugee camp, which is home to around 120,000 people.

Jordanians have repeatedly called for aid, saying the growing refugee influx has placed a huge burden on already overstretched water and power supplies as well as housing and education.

"Competition for jobs is increasing, houses built for refugees require electricity and water, and rubbish is piling up. British support will help to maintain road construction and maintenance, waste collection, street lighting, pest control and water supplies," the statement said.

The International Monetary Fund recommended on Saturday the release of $258 million to Jordan under a three-year $2 billion loan approved in August 2012, to help the kingdom weather regional instability.

Jordan has announced a raft of austerity measures as it battles to reduce a $2 billion deficit this year and rein in a foreign debt that now exceeds $23 billion. 

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