Severe winter pushing Iraqi refugees to limit

Officials in the Jordanian Government have warned that the unusually severe winter affecting the Middle East has destroyed crops, and will likely lead to increases in the price of food, World Vision has reported.

World Vision's Middle East and Eastern Europe Office has reported that crops in Syria and Israel have also been severely affected. With fuel prices expected to soar, life for many living in the Kingdom of Jordan is set to get more difficult.

For the four million displaced Iraqis across the region, the severe cold is compounding their already considerable hardships, the aid agency has said.

Refugees have reported a lack of basic necessities for winter living, including adequate blankets, heaters and fuel for cooking and heating. In addition, poor quality housing has added to the desperate situation.

The price of diesel, which is essential for heating, is expected to jump by more than 60 per cent over the coming months, and gas, which is used for cooking as well as heating, by more than 75 per cent.

It is the poorest that will be hit hardest by these hikes, World Vision explains. Together with the exceptionally harsh winter facing the Middle East, displaced Iraqis are preparing themselves for months of increased hardship.

World Vision has been working with Iraqi refugees in Jordan since early 2007. Through local partners, World Vision has assisted the refugees with supplementary feeding, healthcare, and informal education and psychosocial support for the refugee children.