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Minister of State Seán Sherlock T.D. to Meet with Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Emergencies, News/feature, Ireland, 2015

Visit to Assess Impact of Ireland’s Support to UN High Commission for Refugees and NGOs

Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North-South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock T.D., will today visit the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan and meet with Syrian refugee families, seeing at first-hand the conditions in which they are living. Minister Sherlock will also have the opportunity to evaluate the work of agencies in receipt of funding from Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas aid programme.

Ahead of the visit, the Minister said:

“This visit allows me the opportunity to see at first-hand how Ireland’s support to the UNHCR in Jordan allows it to continue its vital work in refugee camps such as Azraq, where I will be visiting on Thursday.

“The UNHCR also works with the half a million or so refugees who live outside of camps and I will also have an opportunity to meet with some of these families and to hear about their experiences.

“I am acutely conscious of the strain that the refugee crisis is placing on health, education and water resources in Jordan. My visit, which also includes a meeting with the Minister of Industry, Trade & Supply H.E Mrs. Maha Abdul Rahim Ali, offers an opportunity to express solidarity with the Jordanian authorities and to demonstrate Ireland’s support for the ways in which they are addressing these challenges.

“The last four years of conflict have exacted a terrible toll on the people of Syria, so many of whom are now living as refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan.

“It is important that the international community does all that it can to help them in their time of need. I am glad that Ireland and the Irish people have not been found wanting in this regard.

“Irish Aid’s support to the Syrian people so far this year has included €800,000 in support to the work of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) inside Jordan. Irish Aid has also supported the work of NGOs such as Tearfund and Oxfam in Jordan.

“We look forward to welcoming those refugees who will be selected to settle in Ireland over the coming months".

Over 100,000 Syrians are currently living in refugee camps inside Jordan and c. 25,000 of these are in Azraq Camp where Minister of State Sherlock will visit. A further 500,000+ refugees in Jordan live outside of refugee camps in towns and cities across the country, predominantly in Amman and northern Jordan.


Press Office

8 October 2015


Notes to the Editor:

Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Syria crisis is the largest humanitarian emergency in the world. Over 4 million people have fled Syria, while within the country 7.6 million people have been displaced, from their homes. The UN appealed for $8.4 billion in assistance to the Syrian people in 2015, both for those in Syria and those in neighbouring countries. The appeal is less than 40% funded.

There are more than 620,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, a country of 6.3 million people, which also hosts a large long-term Palestinian refugee population.

Ireland has pledged funding of €12 million to aid the Syria crisis in 2015, and so far more than €10 million of this has been provided to UN, Red Cross and NGO partners. The fulfilment of our 2015 pledge will bring Ireland’s total funding for Syria since 2012 to €41 million. In addition to this, during September 2015, Ministers also approved €1 million in support to the UN’s work in the related Iraq crisis.

Azraq refugee camp was first opened in March 2013 to host Syrians fleeing the violence in the ongoing Syrian civil war, and to relieve pressure on the existing camp in Za’atari, 80 km away. Currently, Za’atari camp hosts 80,000 people, and Azraq approximately 25,000. The camp is managed by the Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorate (SRAD) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In March 2015, Ireland allocated €800,000 to support the work of the UNHCR specifically in Jordan. Ireland has also provided support in 2015 to the work of the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (ICRC), in support of their regional responses to the Syria crisis.

Ireland provided a total of €1.8 million in global support to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in 2015, as well as €750,000 for the Red Crescent work inside Syria. IFRC established the hospital in Azraq camp in August 2013.

Also in 2015, Ireland has provided €150,000 to support the work of Tearfund in Jordan in combatting gender-based violence, and in 2014, Ireland provided €500,000 to support Oxfam’s work with Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Ireland has provided €2.5 million to an initiative called the Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP), led by the European Commission and Denmark, to support refugees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, using both humanitarian and development programming.