More signs of urban poverty in Jordan as Syrian refugees flood in

Donors gathered in Kuwait this week to raise money for the most expensive humanitarian crisis in recent history: Syria.

Muhammad Hamed/REUTERS
Syrian refugees sit outside their tent at their camp in Amman, Jordan, December 23, 2013. About 200 Syrian families, who fled the violence in Syria mostly from Hama, set up two settlements which are not officially recognized.

Donors gathered in Kuwait on Wednesday to start raising money for the most expensive humanitarian crisis in recent history. The conflict in Syria has left nearly 10 million in need, and the UN says it needs $6.5 billion this year just to provide for the most basic humanitarian care.

Roughly $1.6 billion of that money would go to Jordan, where it’s easy to see that need, says The Christian Science Monitor's Amman-based correspondent. Jordan has taken in 600,000 refugees – equivalent to 10 percent of its entire population.

“The presence of the Syrians is seen and felt everywhere at this point,” our correspondent says, recalling how the refugees have taken on haphazard work as shopkeepers, cleaners, and even beggars across the city. “You see more signs of urban poverty now, because 80 percent of the refugees are not in refugee camps; they are in cities and towns across the country.”

Syria’s crisis began at what was already a difficult time for Jordan. The financial crisis hit the country hard, and the capital is littered with construction projects left unfinished by the boom and bust.

When the Syrian refugees started coming, the Jordanian government was generous – to an extent that today they are quietly backtracking on promises they just can’t keep.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Frontier Markets.

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