They say we can pick our friends but we cannot pick our neighbors. When it comes to Jordan, Syria could not have had a better neighbour. Both countries have enjoyed close relations with each other and if it were not for Jordan offering assistance during the Syria crisis, the situation on the ground might have been much worse.
There are two refugee camps currently operating in Jordan near the border to Syria: Bashabsheh Camp and Zataari Camp. Both camps are now operating at maximum capacity and have expanded beyond their original boundaries. Jordan has an active population of 6 million people. The Syrian refugees now make up about 9% of it. That is an astounding number of refugees living inside Jordan. The influx of people fleeing Syria due to violence and bloodshed has been immense, reflecting upon the calamity that has extended beyond imagination. Jordan opened its doors for the Syrians and offered them refuge. Now with an estimated 1.5 million refugees currently in Jordan, the country is facing the daunting task of keeping the refugee camps operating at acceptable levels and bearing a $500 million annual cost of this venture.
The luckiest refuges managed to reposition with families and friends residing in Jordan. Some were able to relocate and start a new life. A taxi cab with Damascus licence plate running through the streets of Jordan is not an uncommon sight now. Others had to settle for large white tents provided by UNHCR. The not so lucky ones sought refuge in camps like the Zataari Camp, where population is now in excess of 130,000. They have access to hospitals and the children attend two makeshift schools but overpopulation has taken its toll on practically everything. The number of refugees coming into Jordan far outnumber the aid coming in from all parts of the world. Despite the grim situation, the Jordanian government, with the help of number Relief Aid agencies like Muslim Aid, has managed to hold the fort and keep things running.
Of course Jordan is not the only country lending support. Lebanon and Turkey have also been busy on their side of the border with Syria, playing their part as good neighbours. However, Jordan is far ahead in terms of total contribution.
Other countries have offered support in the form of donations. It is a vital contribution that is needed to assist the Syrian refugees. Muslim Aid started the Syria Relief Aid Campaign back in 2011 and since then has never looked back. The extent of support we received from our donors has been tremendous and it is due to these contributions that we were able to provide hygiene packs, food rations, warm blankets, clothing and medicine to thousands of Syrian refugees. We urge everyone to stand resolute in their commitment towards Syria, much in the same way Jordan is and make a sizable donation for a good cause that will help change the lives of these victims of violence.