Appeals to Help Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

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Who are the Iraqi Refugees in Jordan?

  • Average age is 29 years
  • Two-thirds are families with children
  • Average family size: 4.1
  • Over half have a college degree
  • Muslims and Christians
  • 25% are able to work
  • 75% rent their homes

It is not hard to imagine the fear Iraqi people experienced once war broke out in their country in 2003. These fears turned into a horrible reality of sectarian violence, chaos, and a general breakdown of social order. Many millions had no choice but to flee their land, their homes, and all they knew to save themselves and their families and to re-establishing their lives. Relocating to the neighboring countries of Jordan and Syria and to even farther destinations, many refugees have instead faced appalling conditions and even more horrific treatment.

According to the Norwegian Research Institute Fafo, there were “between 450,000-500,000 Iraqi residents in Jordan as of May 2007,” with estimates up to one million. While some Iraqis came in 2003 after the US-led invasion, a surge of immigrants entered Jordan in 2004 and 2005. It is easy to simply look at the numbers and be overwhelmed with the plight of these people, but to truly understand their desperation for survival it is crucial to know who they are and what their lives are like.

The 2007 report revealed that most Iraqis immigrated as families. Over half of these refugees hold bachelor degrees or higher and live off of their savings or with the aid of others in the form of money transfers from outside of Jordan. Those who do not have the financial support of others outside of Jordan must rely on working. Since securing a work permit is difficult, many refugees can only find low-paying, physically demanding jobs—a far cry from the white collar jobs many held in Iraq. Most of them are simply victims of circumstance and have expressed the desire to return to Iraq once it is deemed safe.

Since this report was completed almost three years ago, many of the security issues in Iraq have yet to be resolved. It is also safe to say that the savings of many Iraqi families have been totally depleted. These men, women, and children are left trying to find whatever means they can in order to survive. And it is up to us to help them…

Activists in Amman, Jordan have issued an urgent appeal to assist Iraqi refugees with special circumstances that current official aid organizations are ill-suited to handle.

Because of the dangers many Iraqi refugees continue to face in Amman, names and details have been changed and photos have been altered to conceal identities. The stories have been edited to enhance the narration.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Ayman Fadel by e-mail.

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Written by Ayman Fadel

July 16, 2010 at 10:17

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