Displaced and Misplaced: Growing Humanitarian Need for Syrian Refugees

While the hot topic involving Syrian refugees has seemed to fall out of the latest news cycle, it hasn’t changed the rising numbers of refugees knocking on Jordan’s door. The number of refugees at the border is estimated to be about 20,000 with an estimate of 4,000 more arriving in the remote desert area every month. Jordan’s hesitation stems from the fact that many refugees have fled from areas controlled by the Islamic State group and therefore need to go through strict vetting. Pressure has been felt by Jordan from international aid organizations to hurry the process along and to transport the refugees to the UN run Azraq refugee camp which could accommodate thousands of the refugees. Currently, Jordan is only allowing several dozen refugees to enter each day leaving many Syrians stuck along the Syrian-Jordanian border.

The refugee agency chief in Jordan, Andrew Harper, has stated that he is working with Jordan to provide the necessities to those refugees stuck in the desert and is working with local officials to find a way to speed up the vetting process. The agency is also preparing itself for the predicted increase of 5,000 refugees every month at the border.

U.N. agencies are trying to get pledges from countries for Syria’s humanitarian needs. The U.N. agencies are looking for $7.73 billion for Syria’s needs this year. Malala Yousafzai will be attending a conference in London looking to commit $1.4 billion this year in order to get access to education for refugee children. This conference, “Supporting Syria and the Region” aims to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis in Syria. It is estimated that about 700,000 Syrian children living in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries are out of school and out of reach of educational resources. At this conference, Malala will appear with Muzoon Almellehan, the only young Syrian refugee to address world leaders at the event.

There is an estimated number of 13.5 million people in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance, 4.6 million are refugees, 6.6 million are displaced within Syria and half are children. Since the Syrian civil war began 320,000 people have been killed (12,000 children), and 1.5 million have been wounded or permanently disabled. Health care, education systems and the economy have collapsed. And worst of all, children have suffered the loss of loved ones, have witnessed violence, and have been recruited to serve as child soldiers. There is a lot of talk on raising funds for humanitarian needs for Syrian refugees. According to the World Vision, the greatest needs are:

  • The basics to sustain their lives: food, clothing, health assistance, shelter, and household/hygiene items
  • Reliable supply of clean water, and sanitation facilities
  • Safe environment for children to play and go to school
  • Employment options for adults
  • Winter essentials: warm clothing, shoes, bedding, heaters, and heating fuel

Overall, as can be seen in various articles concerning this issue that the Syrian civil war has caused calamity. It has bred more violence, collapsed infrastructures, displacement and caused the most vulnerable class of persons- children- to experience loss and violence, and to be recruited as child soldiers. It is clear that a resolution is needed, but for now international organizations, various countries and people like Malala Yousafzai are advocating for those without a voice.


Ginny Nunez is a 3L and a Senior Editor for the Journal of Law and International Affairs at the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law.

Citations to articles & documents are included in the aforementioned underlined hyperlinks.

Number of Syrian Refugees on Jordan Border Reaches 20,000, ABC News, The Associated Press, Jordan Amman, Jan. 31, 2016 (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/jordan-census-counts-12-million-syrians-36624336).

Malala Seeks to Raise $1.4 Billion to Educate Syrian Refugees, Business Insider, Estelle Shirbon, Jan. 31, 2016 (http://www.businessinsider.com/r-malala-seeks-to-raise-14-billion-to-educate-syrian-refugees-2016-1).

What You Need to Know: Crisis in Syria, Refugees, and the Impact on Children, World Vision, World Vision Staff, Jan 27, 2016 (http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/syria-war-refugee-crisis).



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