2013 proved to be the bloodiest year in Iraq since 2008. In addition to devastation inside the country, the violence has also driven thousands of Iraqis to neighboring Jordan and Syria, where they, along with refugees from the conflict in Syria, are putting increasing strains on their neighbors’ infrastructure.
More than 3,000 Iraqis have fled to Turkey since the beginning of this month. “This is the largest influx of Iraqis we have seen in three years,” said John Young, a representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR registered 1,302 Iraqi refugees in Jordan in December, compared to about 4,200 all of last year.
The influx of Iraqi refugees has placed a greater burden on the already strained resources of the nations hosting the refugees. Funding for the estimated 29,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan has been increasingly hard to come by. “It has been very difficult to get the international community and donors’ attention in recent years as the Syrian crisis has deepended,” said Salaam Kanaan, country director for CARE Jordan.
Officials now say that funding once earmarked for education and support of Iraqi refugees has been diverted to assist with the greater numbers of Syrians pouring into Jordan. “All international funding now goes straight to Syrian families,” said Dr. Khaled Shammas, director of an Iraqi healthcare program at the Italian Hospital in Amman.
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