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UNHCR distributes winter cash assistance to refugees in Jordan

Jordan Daily – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Jordan has started the process of distributing one-off winter cash assistance for refugees across the country as winter approaches.

Over 76,000 refugee families (approximately 290,000 individuals) from a variety of nationalities – including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and others – in Jordan have already received winter cash assistance throughout the last couple of weeks, UNHCR – Jordan stated.

Further distributions are subsequently planned to cover all the 23,000 refugee families living in Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps over the coming weeks.

UNHCR aims to support almost 100,000 refugee families in Jordan over the course of this winter, distributing approximately USD 35 million of funding to the most vulnerable refugee families in Jordan. This has been possible thanks to flexible funding support from donors such as Germany, the United States, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Japan.

The distribution of winter cash assistance early in the cold season is instrumental in helping refugees prepare for winter. Last year, 90 percent of refugees who received assistance said that it helped them to improve their living conditions and reduce stress. UNHCR estimates that 46 percent of refugees in Jordan need winter assistance this year.

The majority of refugees receiving winter cash assistance tend to spend their money on rent and food. In addition, in 2020, 32 percent of refugees reported they spent the money on heating and fuel and 30 percent on utilities and bills. UNHCR expects refugees to spend their assistance in similar ways this year.

“The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased needs of refugees during winter is a potentially disastrous combination. Winter assistance this year is more crucial than ever as a protection tool to help the poorest refugees keep a roof over their heads and their families safe from the cold,” commented UNHCR Deputy Representative, Carolyn Ennis.

After receiving an SMS alerting them that their cash assistance is ready, refugees living in towns and cities will be able to collect their money at Cairo-Amman Bank ATM’s using UNHCR’s fraud proof biometric iris-scanning system. The cash is intended to cover refugee needs throughout the coldest months of winter. The amount of money that refugees receive is determined based on their family size and varies from USD 263 for a single person to USD 564 for a family of 7.

UNHCR’s winter cash assistance is distributed to refugee families who are eligible under UNHCR’s vulnerability criteria. Special attention is given to female-headed households, the elderly, people with medical needs as well as survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

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