History of Country
Jordan is a small country with few natural resources. Much of its landscape is arid desert, with only 4 percent of land fit for agriculture. Water supplies in Jordan are scarce.
For almost 50 years Jordan has been a safe haven for Palestinian refugees. Palestinians make up over 35 percent of Jordan’s population according to official figures, but refugee agencies estimate that over half of all Jordanians are of Palestinian origin.
Since 2003 Jordan has become home to a growing number of Iraqi refugees. The UN estimates that there are between 500,000 and 700,000 Iraqi refugees living in and around the capital, Amman.
Jordan is home to more Palestinian refugees than any other country in the world. A total of 1.74 million Palestinians have been registered by UNRWA, the UN Palestinian refugee agency. Over 300,000 refugees live in camps across Jordan.
Baqa’a, the Middle East’s largest refugee camp, originally set up as a temporary settlement, is now home to 120,000 Palestinian refugees. The camp is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways. People live in small, overcrowded buildings with poor ventilation.
Open sewage channels and cracked drainage pipes contribute to the spread of disease and attract rats and other vermin to the camp. With no system of waste disposal many people use the bus station as a dumping-ground and piles of decomposing rubbish line Baqa’a’s streets.
Access to healthcare is also poor in Baqa’a. There are not enough doctors in the camp to treat the number of patients that visit the health centres. Patients wait for hours to see a doctor, which can lead to their condition worsening. The lack of medicine in the camp often forces refugees to go to expensive private pharmacies.
Islamic Relief's History
Over 307,700 Palestian refugees live in ten refugee camps across Jordan
In 1997 IR extended the Orphan Sponsorship Programme to Jordan. Hundreds of orphans have benefited from the programme over the years and more than 300 Palestinian orphans are currently sponsored by donors from all over world.
IR also carries out seasonal Ramadan and Qurbani projects in Jordan in partnership with a local organisation.