Last week, after a suicide attack, Jordan sealed its borders in an effort to heighten security measures. But now 64,000 Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary are stranded in the desert without food and with a meager water supply.
AP reports that the refugees—many of whom have awaited entry for months—are camping at the Syrian-Jordanian border. Largely at the mercy of the kingdom, the refugees have survived on rations supplied via Jordanian territory. But now the country has announced that international aid organizations must deliver provisions by different routes.
Jordanian government spokesperson Mohammed Momani tells AP, “It’s an international and a U.N. problem, and not a Jordanian one...Jordan is willing to help, but the berm [an earthen barrier] is closed.”
Since the attack last week, which killed seven Jordanian troops and wounded 13, only two water shipments have reached the refugees — less than half of what the international daily consumption standard prescribes. Jordan turned back a third water shipment, and no food whatsoever has been delivered to the camp since the borders closed.
The United Nation’s World Food Programme is sympathetic to Jordan’s desire to tighten security, but they nonetheless hope they will reopen borders to save the lives of those trapped in the no-man’s land outside. The program’s regional spokesperson, Abeer Etefa, explains to AP that “an extended closure ‘could put the lives of stranded Syrians at risk.’” Syrians have sought shelter in neighboring countries to escape the violence that has raged in their homeland since 2011.
Meanwhile, Jordan has suggested that the WFP travel through war-torn Syria in order to reach the refugee camp with provisions. They offer no sign of opening their borders in the near future.
Image via AP.