Remarks by Administrator Rajiv Shah at the Za’atri Refugee Camp, Jordan

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jaafar Hassan, Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation:

I would like to thank the U.S. government for its tremendous support that allows Jordan to welcome and continue providing the necessary services in a dignified way to Syrians coming into this country.  The presence of Dr. Shah, USAID Administrator, here today only underlines the great support and importance USAID and the U.S. government attaches to enabling the Jordanian government and UN agencies to go ahead with this important role.  Jordan had very recently launched a joint appeal with UN agencies for support of Syrians in the country.  There are more than 27,000 in this camp today, more than 150,000 living within Jordanian communities in different parts of the country.  And it is very important for us to be able to continue in providing the basic humanitarian services that these people require and to be able to do that we will continue counting on international support through donors and UN agencies. 

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID:

My name is Raj Shah, I'm the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and I'm very excited to be able to be here today and to visit this very important refugee camp that is a major point of safety and security and humanitarian support for Syrian refugees. I want to start just by commending the Government of Jordan.  I’m here with Minister Jafar, who of course, leads this effort on behalf of the government.  Jordan's generosity and openness and commitment to humanitarian protection for Syrian displaced persons has made a tremendous difference, and we stand with the Government of Jordan in that effort. 

The United States, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, have been very clear that we are calling on the Assad regime to end its brutal treatment and attacks on its own people.  And President Obama has also asked us, the United States, to do everything we can to support the critical humanitarian needs that are in this region.

That's why we've already provided more than $82 million of support for humanitarian priorities, reaching more than 700,000 Syrians with food, water and medical support.  And that's why, today, I'm quite pleased to announce an additional $21 million commitment.  In this case to our colleagues at the World Food Programme, who are taking responsibility for providing effective food access to people who are in dire need, here in this camp, throughout parts of Syria and in other parts of the region.  This commitment will go into effect immediately, and is already providing actual services to refugees in need. We are in a camp right now that has 27,000 registered members, of which 52% are children.  The 21 million will help ensure the children and their families have adequate food and nutrition especially as they prepare for the times ahead and the winter. 

The 21 million will also ensure greater access to food rations, dry rations packets inside Syria, for the nearly 1.2 million displaced Syrians that are still inside Syria, but disconnected from their sources of income, their assets, and their own markets and food themselves.  And these resources will provide support to other countries, such as Turkey, where significant refugees, in that case 80,000, are going into the camps there and where the world Food Programme and other UN partners are doing everything they can to make sure that refugees receive services that help keep them alive and protect them. 

I'll conclude just by saying that we are proud to be the largest international partner in the UN appeal, now accounting for nearly 30% of the total UN stated needs.  And we call on other partners all around the world, to stand with the governments and people of Turkey and Jordan and other neighboring countries that have put a tremendous amount of energy, resources, access and generosity into protecting and supporting the needs of Syrian refugees.  And again, we call on the Assad regime to end it brutal treatment of its people, because that's what causing this crisis to begin with. 

Za’atri Refugee Camp, Jordan

Last updated: September 06, 2012

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