UN refugee agency launches field unit to help Iraqis in Jordan
www.chinaview.cn 2007-10-19 17:39:37   Print

    AMMAN, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency in Jordan has launched an outreach field unit after it found that the most vulnerable Iraqis were unable to access its services, local newspaper The Jordan Times reported on Friday.

    Imran Riza, Jordan representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said community outreach for Iraqis is essential.

    "Our experience of the past year shows that many Iraqis do not come to our offices. It is, therefore, our responsibility to go to the areas where Iraqis live to ensure that they receive our support and attention," said Riza.

    The field team, which has already visited Zarqa, Azraq, Madaba and Mafraq, discovered that many Iraqis were unaware about UN services while others could not afford the cost of transportation.

    With the expanded capacity, the UNHCR now has more than 40,000 registered Iraqis, up from around 25,000 six months ago, according to UNHCR statistics.

    Hanin Hamzeh, a UNHCR community services assistant who is a member of the field unit, said the unit is simply making it easier for those in need, saying that "we are not waiting for them to find a way to us, we are going directly to their homes."

    "Word spreads fast among the Iraqi community and field staff members are already assessing around 35 cases a day," Hamzeh said.

    Senior public information officer, Sybella Wilkes, said that they found a single mother of three children selling food she received as aid to buy school supplies for her children.

    "These are the kind of families who really need help. We were able to explain that there is a school program and gave her vouchers for school uniforms and supplies," she said.

    The UNHCR has estimated that more than 2 million Iraqis have fled their homeland for safety abroad to wait out the war, with 700,000 and 1.2 million spilling into neighboring Jordan and Syria respectively.


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Editor: Bi Mingxin
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