More than half a million refugees from the conflict in Syria are now living in Jordan, many in refugee camps and settlements along the border. Jordan's Parliament is trying to deal with the flood of refugees and is considering closing the border.
Minnesotans Graham Eastmond and Lauren Bienkowski have been involved in foreign aid work with Syrian refugees through the American Refugee Committee. They join The Daily Circuit to give us a view of day-to-day life inside the camps.
From Global Post:
Women and children make up 75 percent of the refugees and 55 percent are under the age of 18, according to Tala Kattan, assistant external relations officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-Jordan. The major challenges facing Syrian refugees, she added, are "high cost of living [in Jordan], strengthening psycho-social support due to the horrors they have seen, [and] losing two years of schooling for the children."
The influx of refugees is starting to threaten Jordan's stability, according to U.S. News and World Report:
The sheer numbers of refugees crossing the border is now causing serious problems for local Jordanians, whose lives are already strained by a fragile economy — Jordan is not an oil producing state — and severe droughts along the northern border with Syria.
"It's already a burden for water facilities, for health facilities, for schools and of course for the labor market," says [Marc] Pierini, who served as the European Union ambassador to Syria, Libya and most recently Turkey.
The EU and U.S. have recognized the potential for disaster in recent weeks.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SYRIAN REFUGEES:
• Egypt, Jordan, Iraq seek to stem Syrian refugee flood
Syria's raging civil war has seen neighbors flooded with refugees. Egypt has become the latest regional country to take steps to limit refugee access. (Christian Science Monitor)
• Kerry mulls visit to Syrian refugee camp in Jordan
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he may visit a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan as he launched a new round of Middle East diplomacy amid deteriorating conditions in Syria and the ongoing unrest in Egypt. (AP)
• Life in Zaatari: An inside look
Photos give us a glimpse inside the "Zaatari refugee camp on the Jordan-Syria border where an estimated 140,000 Syrians now live, according to the Jordanian government. This camp opened only last July." (MercyCorps)