Syrian refugees sliding into abject poverty at "alarming rate"

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An elderly Syrian woman becomes emotional when talking about her life as a refugee. UNHCR/A.Branthwaite

Large numbers of Syrian refugees in Jordan are sliding into abject poverty at an alarming rate, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned on Wednesday.

António Guterres was speaking in Amman, Jordan, at the launch of a new study by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), called "Living in the Shadows".

According to the report, two-thirds of refugees across Jordan are now living below the national poverty line.

It shows that one in six Syrian refugee households is in poverty, with less than US$40 per person per month to make ends meet.

UNHCR says that almost half of the households visited by researchers had no heating, a quarter had unreliable electricity, and 20 per cent had no functioning toilet.

Rental costs accounted for more than half of household expenditures, and refugee families were increasingly being forced to share accommodations with others to reduce costs.

Mr. Guterres warned that "unless the international community increases its support to refugees, families will opt for ever more drastic coping strategies".

He said "more children will drop out of school to work and more women will be at risk of exploitation", including what he called "survival sex."

Stephanie Castro, United Nations

Duration:  1’14″

 

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