Jordan [Syrian refugees]

Socio-economic disparity in Zaatari Camp

2013.10.03

United under the UN agencies’ umbrella and for the second winter season, organizations working in the Zaatari Camp have started to prepare a contingency plan to accomodate 20,000-30,000 new arrivals to the camp. In addition UNHCR has established a Strategy Advisory Working Group to discuss a long term strategy. JEN was chosen as one of the six major INGOs among over 30 humanitarian organizations working inside the camp.

People working inside the camp feel like Zaatari has become urbanized. In addition to the shopping street named “Champs-Elysees”, there is now another shopping street called “Fifth Avenue”. Various shops are being established inside the camp. There are a few electrical shops selling satellite TV, heaters and air conditioners. Moreover, there is a factory with special equipment to produce drinking water.

[A Supermarket]
131003 ①キャンプ内に最近できたスーパーマーケット

[A Factory to produce drinking water]
131003 ②ミネラルウォーターの工場
The camp has been developing at a rapid speed. At the same time, economic and social gaps of people inside the camp are growing. Many people are living in pre-fabricated housings with electric equipment, and on the other hand, there are also a huge number of people strongly relying on support from aid agencies. It is important to include those vulnerable people (infants, women household families, elderly and disabled people) in JEN’s activities and make sure each and every person receive  support from aid agencies.

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Rising cost of living accompanied by the Syrian Crisis

2013.09.19

The possible military actions of Western countries have been heavily covered in Japanese media. How has the Syrian Crisis which started in 2011 changed the lives of people in Jordan hosting Syrian refugees?   First of all, the price of daily necessities gradually but surely has gone up. Most of them—prepaid cards for cell phone and foods such as vegetables and fruits imported from neighbor countries—are essential for daily life.

Rent fee has also risen nearly 20 percent compared to that 2 years ago. Some of the refugees from Syria have come to Jordan and shared same dwellings with their relatives, but there are also Syrian people who rent houses by themselves. Securing shelter is a priority for human beings to live, so Syrians who have enough money try to rent housings even if the rent fees are higher than the average. As a result, the rent fee has risen up.

In addition, the prices of gas and petrol have also slowly gone up since the beginning of this year. As gas stoves and central heating consuming heavy fuel oil are commonly used in Jordan, the increasing fuel cost is expected to make an impact on the livelihoods of Jordanians.

Now even we, foreigners, fully realize these changes, so it is easy to imagine that Jordanians can be more sensitive to them. JEN has supported not only Syrian refugees but also public schools in the host communities that have been hosting people evacuating from Syria. We do so through rehabilitating school facilities and promoting hygiene education. JEN has continued to work in order to make changes to the actual situations of both Syrians and Jordanians, and to ensure their safety and comfortable lives in Jordan.

[A car from Homs, a city in western Syria. We see many cars with Syrian number plates.]
130919 ①a car from Homs

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Colleagues 3000 kilometers away

2013.09.05

JEN activities are supported by various local staffs.  Some staffs go to the field every day and communicate with people in needs directly, while some assist such project staffs so that they can carry on activities smoothly. Back-office section doesn’t draw much attention, but it plays a key role of project implementation. It covers a wide range of tasks such as financial matters, human resource management, arrangement of cars, maintenance of office facilities, and procurement of stationery and so on. It seems to be small issues, but if it is not well managed, projects cannot stand. Donations are utilized not only for ones directly delivered to people but also for those costs which are required for supporting projects.

Recently, our admin staff had a skype meeting with a local staff in Juba office. It all started with the request from Juba office that wanted to know the detail about administrative format which Amman office developed. Both of them are thoroughly versed in administrative issues, so international staffs didn’t attend the meeting, and it was held in Arabic. It is the first time for her to talk to South Sudanese as well as JEN staffs working in other office so it was motivational for her.

© JEN, 2013, Admin staff in Amman office, having a skype meeting with Juba staff
130905 ①CIMG1843
There is little communication among country offices because the contents of project as well as surrounding environments are different, and only international staffs sometimes have exchange of opinions with each other. It is expected that meetings like this will be continuously held and staffs in different offices being inspired by one another contribute to the further improvement of JEN activities.

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Preparing for winter season, 2013

2013.08.23

Situated in the desert terrain, Zaatari refugee camp should face an extreme seasonal temperature. During the summer like now, it has faced a fierce heat up to 40 degree Celsius. The hot wind often brings a lot of sand and makes the terrains very white and dusty. While during the winter, the desert camp will encounter its hardest condition. The refugees will live in severe conditions where the rain is heavy and the temperatures are low.

(Unloading winter clothes from the truck)

0822_ヨルダン_1

 

Last winter of 2012, JEN provided assistance through distributions of winter clothes packages to more than 7,500 families in Zaatari Camp and the border areas. A similar activity will be implemented by JEN for upcoming winter season, 2013. JEN has extended the partnership with UNHCR for distributions of clothes donated by UNIQLO. A total of seven containers of mixed clothes for men, women, and children have been shipped directly from Japan to Aqaba port for the Syrian refugees in the Kingdom of Jordan.

Logistic preparation has been made by JEN to receive the clothes. JEN rent a-800sqm warehouse in the suburb of Amman. Two guards are employed to ensure the security of the premises. A total of 9,000 family bags have been received from UNHCR to be used for the clothes distribution. Today, 20th August 2013, two containers arrived at JEN warehouse. Ten labors have been employed to unload each 40-foot container.

For the next couple of months, September to October 2013, JEN will sort out estimated 550,000 pieces of clothes based on age and gender. Daily labors will be employed covering day and night shift to sort out and prepare the clothing packages. Each package of winter clothes will be made to suit the needs of each family. JEN will start the clothes distribution to the beneficiaries in October 2013. This advance arrangement is expected to better-prepare the refugees facing a bitterly cold season.

(JEN staff checking packages of UNIQLO clothes at JEN’s warehouse)

0822_ヨルダン_2

Trisa Lusiandari

Programme Officer

 

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ONE YEAR ON …

2013.08.01

One year has passed since the opening of the Zaatari refugee camp on 29th of July, 2012. Only few tents were there last year; however the current population of the camp reaches over hundred thousand people and the Zaatari camp became the fifth largest city in Jordan.

In this period, there are significant changes of the camp: tents were replaced by caravans, many shopping streets are still growing, people can reach to almost all items not only necessary living items but also electronic appliances and public facilities such as schools and hospitals, and infrastructure have been developed.

JEN’s operation in the camp started from last September, 2012, right after the camp opened. JEN has worked together with UNICEF to establish WASH committee all over the camp to secure people’s presence in the WASH sector and develop their capacity. After 8 months of JEN’s work with the committees, committee members and people have worked for the improvement of their own living environment through their own hygiene promotion campaign, daily monitoring of latrine facilities, assignment for cleanup duty among people.

The delegation visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Kishida, took place on 26th of July, 2013. During the visit, His Excellency checked of WASH facilities to see JEN’s activities and to recognize the significant needs in the WASH sector. He mentioned that MOFA of Japan will work together with the Government of Jordan, UN agencies and NGOs including JEN to tackle these urgent issues in the camp.

[26th July, 2013. MOFA Japan Minister is visiting laundry facilities constructed by JEN]

Currently around 30 agencies are doing activities inside Zaatari camp. In response to rapid growth of the camp, UNHCR planned to divide the camp into 12 administrative districts and to assign one NGO as a lead agency of each district. JEN was appointed by UNHCR as a lead agency in areas where over 26,000 refugees live.

JEN will continue to work in Zaatari camp in close cooperation with the Government of Jordan, UN agencies and other organisations working in the areas in order to ensure peaceful and comfortable living conditions for refugees in the camp.

[Syrian refugee children living in Zaatari camp]

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