Press Release

Belgium allocates 4 million euro additional humanitarian aid to Jordan

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo allocates an additional 4 million euro in humanitarian aid for the hosting of Syrian war refugees in Jordan. He announced this today during a humanitarian working visit to Jordan. Deputy Prime Minister De Croo, together with HM Queen Mathilde, visited a refugee camp and a UNICEF project.

Jordan, just like Turkey and Lebanon, was confronted with a massive inflow of Syrian refugees in the last few years. The UNHRC, the UN refugee agency, already registered more than 650.000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Almost eight out of ten refugees are women and children.

Because of the very difficult humanitarian situation, Belgium exceptionally increases its humanitarian budget to 175 million euro this year, the highest amount ever. More than 65 million euro was allocated to the Syrian refugee crisis, 10 million euro in humanitarian aid was allocated to Jordan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announced today that we will allocate 4 million euro in additional humanitarian aid to Jordan. More specifically, this concerns:

  • Biometric cash assistance programs of the UNHCR: 1 million euro
  • Education programmes of UNICEF for vulnerable refugee children (Makani model): 2,5 million euro (2016-2017)
  • Humanitarian aid by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): 0,5 million euro

Biometric cash assistance of UNHCR

HM Queen Mathilde and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo visited the Zaatari refugee camp, where UNHCR organises a biometric cash assistance program. The program includes financial help for refugees in the form of cash. With this new approach, refugees can pay themselves for their basic needs. This decreases poverty and assists the refugees in providing for their own needs. This approach also gives an extra impulse to the local economy and decreases administrative costs.

The UNHCR cash assistance program also uses the latest technological possibilities. Refugees are identified with an iris scan. During the visit to Zaatari, Alexander De Croo announced that our country allocates 1 million euro extra for the biometric cash assistance programmes of the UNHCR.

Earlier this year, Belgium already decided to allocate 1 million euro for the Zaatari camp, allowing for access to health services for 20.000 war refugees.

With 80.000 inhabitants, Zaatari is Jordan’s fourth biggest city this year. Almost 6 out of ten refugees in the camp are minors. There are nine schools, two hospitals and nine health care centers. An average of 80 babies are born each week, 14.000 medical consultations take place.

Education for the most vulnerable refugee children

HM Queen Mathilde and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo also visited an education project of UNICEF, the UN children’s rights organisation. The project provides for education and psychosocial support for the most vulnerable refugee children. Although the Jordanian government offers education to about 145.000 Syrian refugee children, about 80.000 do not get any form of education. They risk becoming a lost generation. Through 216 education centers, both in refugee camps as in host communities, UNICEF tries to reach out to these children.

UNICEF developed a special approach, the Makani model, where the UN children’s rights organisation offers a broad variety of activities. Children learn how to read and calculate, are taught socio-cultural values and norms and get psychosocial support. Parents, teachers and social workers are trained and supported in providing for an environment where children can develop.

With this approach last year UNICEF gave psychosocial support to 106.000 children, education to more than 32.000 children and almost 47.000 young people were taught life skills. Alexander De Croo announced that our country will support the Makani projects of UNICEF in Jordan in the two coming years with a humanitarian contribution of 2,5 million euro.

Belgian humanitarian aid in figures:

  • Total budget in 2016: 175 million euro
  • More than 90 million euro to refugees worldwide
  • 65 million euro to the Syrian refugee crisis
  • 25 million euro to UNICEF
  • 19 million euro to UNHCR
  • Nearly 10 million euro in humanitarian aid for Jordan