Jordan needs help in hosting Syrian refugees: UN

AFP , Sunday 22 Apr 2012

UNHCR official says that Jordan needs international community help to meet Syrian refugees needs; at least 12,500 fled to the neighbouring Arab country since the uprising against the Assad regime started last year

The UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Sunday cash-strapped Jordan needs help to cope with hosting tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled the unrest in their country to the neighbouring kingdom.

"Jordan has always been generous to refugees. Neighbouring and other friendly countries should help the kingdom cope with the Syrian refugees," UNHCR representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper, told Prime Minister Awan Khasawneh at a meeting.

"The UNHCR is working with other international bodies to aid Jordan and help the government register the Syrian refugees," the state-run Petra news agency quoted Harper as saying.

The UN agency said on Thursday the number of registered Syrians in Jordan reached around 12,500 this month, adding that they are expected to rise.

"The Jordanian government and UNHCR believe there are tens of thousands of vulnerable Syrians in the country," it said.

For his part, Khasawneh said Jordan's resources are limited.

"We are doing our best to help the refugees but this increases challenges and pressure on Jordan, where financial resources are already stretched," he said.

The country's overall debt has amounted to $21 billion by the end of February, finance ministry figures showed on Wednesday.

Amman has said that nearly 100,000 Syrians have sought refuge in the kingdom since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March last year.

The UNHCR appealed in March for $84 million to support Syrian refugees, saying contingency plans for looking after 100,000 abroad were under way.

The Syria conflict has killed 11,000 people, according to monitors, while the United Nations puts the death toll at more than 9,000.

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