Jordan's Syrian refugees living in dire poverty - UN

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

A new report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reveals that an alarming number of Syrian refugees in Jordan are facing desperate living conditions.

Entitled Living in the Shadows, the UN refugee agency's study reports that two-thirds of the estimated 620,000 registered Syrian refugees are living below the poverty line, with one in six making do with less than $36.90 a month. Female-headed households are worse off, as one in five suffers from abject poverty.

In a previous study published in March last year, only about 14 per cent were reported to be below the poverty line. With the present figures, UNHCR said that there has been a "clear deterioration" in the situation of the Syrian refugees.

According to Newsweek, schooling is now a luxury among the children of the refugee communities as more and more are finding it necessary to find ways to help bring food to the table and pay the bills.

"Unless the international community increases its support to refugees, families will opt for ever more drastic coping strategies," UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said.

"More children will drop out of school to work and more women will be at risk of exploitation, including survival sex."

UNHCR spokesperson Brian Hansford believes that insufficient funding and support are the "main issue" behind the present plight of the Syrian refugees.

He said that the international community has to match the generosity of the Jordanian government, who has opened the country's doors to those fleeing from the civil war and the violence of the extremist group ISIS.

Echoing Hansford's statements, UNHCR's representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper, said, "The ability of Syrian refugees in Jordan to manage their lives is becoming increasingly perilous.

"As the conflict drags on and the most vulnerable refugees seek deeper into despair, it is now the time for the international community to redouble its efforts to protect those in need. Without this support, refugees have limited options on how to survive."