Canada gives Jordan $100M in aid to help with influx of Syrian refugees
Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 6:48AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:54PM EST
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced an additional $100 million in aid for Jordan to help the kingdom cope with a flood of Syrian refugees.
During Harper’s first visit to Jordan as part of his tour of the Middle East, King Abdullah said he was grateful for the help.
"Your leadership standing by Jordan and the challenges that we have been facing is something that I continue to commend," he said.
"There are major challenges ahead of us in this region and we continue to look to Canada's support working with us together to try and solve these problems. I know as brothers, we'll be able to move forward and overcome these challenges."
On Friday, Harper will tour the Za’artri refugee camp near the Syrian border, which is home to more than 120,000 people.
Much of the Canadian aid money will allow Jordan to address an influx of Syrian students, which has doubled classroom sizes. Thirty-five per cent of Syrian refugees are school-age children.
The influx of refugees is also straining Jordan’s resources, including the water supply.
Half of the 600,000 refugees in Jordan live in camps. The rest are scattered elsewhere, including the capital city of Amman.
One Syrian refugee, a mother of five from Damascus, said she’s treated poorly and complained that very little of international aid money actually reaches those in need.
Another Syrian, Moudasen Homsi, fled his country a year ago and found work in a Jordanian coffee job. But he said refugees often face resentment.
“They were saying to us: ‘You took jobs,’” he said.
One doctor, Mahmoud Samra, said the situation is far worse in refugee camps.
“You have to go the refugees where they need the most help because they have minimal housing and food and access to health care,” he said.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and files from The Canadian Press