Cranes hoisted huge white bags with rice, lentils and dates from Jordan into tent camps on the Syrian side of a border berm–an unprecedented way of delivering U.N. aid to tens of thousands of displaced Syrians cut off from outside help for almost two months. Distribution was monitored by Jordanian army drones.
The number of Syrians stranded on the Jordanian border, awaiting entry, has grown from a few thousand to more than 75,000 over the past eight months, according to U.N. figures. Relief over getting badly needed aid to the Ruqban and Hadalat camps was muted by concern over deteriorating conditions there. Some camp residents have dug holes for sleeping after selling flimsy shelters for scarce food and water. Clean water has become scarce. Aid agencies have said disease such as hepatitis and dysentery, malnutrition and dehydration are on the rise.
This week’s shipment of 650 metric tons of food and hygiene kits was a one-off–Jordan has said it would bar future deliveries from its soil on security grounds. On June 21, Jordan sealed the border for good after a cross-border suicide attack by the Islamic State group killed seven Jordanian border guards near the Ruqban camp. The closure also halted what until then had been regular aid deliveries from Jordan to the camps.
The international community is scrambling for alternatives, but no viable option has emerged. Sending supplies from war-ravaged Syria appears risky, while U.N. officials say aid dropped by planes could end up in the wrong hands.
“This should be a wake-up call for everyone,” Shaza Moghraby, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program in Jordan, said of the growing suffering at the berm. “The world has a moral obligation to do something about this.”
This entry was posted in Humanitarian Aid by Grant Montgomery.