IMPACT OF HOSTING SYRIAN REFUGEES OCTOBER Introduction

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1 Introduction THE HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF JORDAN MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IMPACT OF HOSTING SYRIAN REFUGEES OCTOBER 2013 Events in Syria have been impacting the stability of the region, and in particular that of its immediate neighboring countries. Since the beginning of the crisis in March 2011, Jordan has maintained an open border policy to displaced Syrians, where the majority found shelter in host communities. The movement of refugees towards Jordan reached critical levels this year, calling for targeted responses to deal with the related humanitarian needs, but also the longer-term consequences of the crisis. The number of Syrians who sought refuge in Jordan exceeded 600 thousand (representing about 10 percent), and are distributed in camps over 130 thousand - and in Jordanian urban areas about 470 thousands. Moreover, the number of those who have so far registered or in the pipeline of registration with UNHCR is more than 520 thousand, representing 26 percent of total Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. In addition to its commitment not to close its borders, the Government of Jordan decided early on to allow Syrian refugees to access public services (health facilities and public schools) and subsidies extended to Jordanian citizens (energy, water, bread and household gas), hence putting pressure on delivery of services and public finances. The Government today is now faced with the challenge of not only meeting the financial gap needed to cover the added on cost incurred as a result of hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan, but also in responding to the urgent needs of Jordanian host communities, particularly in improving services, existing infrastructure and promoting employment opportunities for Jordanians. Demography Syrian refugees represent about 10 percent of the population in Jordan with the largest concentration in the North. According to Ministry of Interior, the highest concentration is in the Governorate of Irbid (40.8 percent of the population), followed by Mafraq (23 percent of the population) causing pressure on services and infrastructure in addition to environmental impact (this large increase in population led to the increase in security challenges for Civil Defence Directorate and Public Security Department estimating the cost incurred at around US$ 174 million). Out of total refugees, 52.2 percent are females while males represent 47.8 percent distributed mainly among the age group (18-35) 28 percent of the Syrian population, and the age group (5-11), representing 20.7 present. As regarding place of origin, the majority of Syrian refugees about 55.7 percent came from Dar a, followed by Homs (14.6 percent) and Rural Damascus (8.9 percent). Syrians mainly reside in Amman (23.7 percent), Irbid (21.1 percent), Mafraq (10.5 percent), while the remaining population reside in other areas throughout the Kingdom. Surveys show that over 65 percent are working and 20 percent are employers, while 50 percent rely on work as a source of income, and 8 percent rely on donations. On the other hand, the highest level of enrolment at schools is in Zarqa (62 percent) and the lowest is in Mafraq (32 percent). For drop outs, the highest is in Ajloun (80 percent) followed by Irbid (72 percent). Such indicators require serious attention to the education sector through creating a quality of education, suitable education environment and awareness. The absorption capacity in urban areas is rapidly being exhausted and in some governorates such as Mafraq and Irbid may already have been exhausted. Unlike previous refugee influxes into Jordan, the majority of

2 Syrians who have come to Jordan are poorly educated and possess extremely limited resources, causing them to settle in low-income areas where they have quickly been absorbed amongst the urban poor, competing over limited space, resources and job opportunities. Impact of the Syrian Crisis and the Refugee Crisis External pressures on Jordan s economy intensified since 2011 creating a fiscal crisis and quick slowdown in growth and employment in view of the spillover of regional tensions on tourism and investment, the limited access to natural gas resources for electricity generation following the interruption of flow of gas from Egypt, in addition to the flow of 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordanian cities and communities, as well as the virtual halt of movement of goods through Syria to Jordan s major export markets in Europe. Jordan s fiscal situation is compounded by the increasing economic and social cost of hosting Syrian refugees in Jordanian cities. The influx of Syrian refugees increased pressure on existing infrastructure and public service provision, worsened already stretched public finances, and called for urgent public investment in some sectors that are under particular pressure, among them education, health, water and sanitation, energy as well as municipal waste. The influx is also having an impact on Jordanians working in the informal labor market, both in terms of competition for jobs and downward pressure on wages, thus creating social tensions in areas that are facing high unemployment and difficult economic conditions. Overall, the conflict continues to pose significant downside risks to growth in Jordan. Additionally, education, health and water infrastructure in these areas are also being strained. The double shift system in schools has been re-instated to accommodate more than 78,500 Syrian children this academic year (increasing from 40,000 students in the academic year ) after Jordan had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on education reform during the previous decade. The level of health services has also been deteriorating particularly in the Northern Governorates and the existing facilities cannot accommodate additional demand, in addition to depletion of the available of medicines and vaccination stocks. Additionally, given the unequal spatial distribution of refugees in Jordan, crowding out of public services, such as public hospitals and primary healthcare centers, has significantly impacted access for Jordanians in communities with large concentrations of Syrian refugees particularly in the northern governorates The Government had incurred over US$251 million during 2012 to provide services and basic needs in the form of subsidies and current expenditures for Syrians in cities and communities (not including costs of establishing and operating refugee camps). As Syrians in Jordan benefit from a number of subsidized items (bread, electricity, water and household gas) by the Government, more that than US$152.4 million is needed to provide the subsidized items to 600 thousand Syrians this year (US$19.2 million for water, US$23 million for flour, US$93.6 million for electricity, and US$16.6 million for household gas). Sectoral Impact 1) Education The latest surveys show that the majority of Syrian refugees are residing in the northern parts of the Kingdom, which includes Irbid, Mafraq, Ajloun, Jerash, and Zarqa governorates. This large number of Syrians is causing a significant pressure on the education system. It is quite important to mention that according to the Ministry of Education s standards about percent of any population would be children in school-age. For the current academic year ( ), around 78,531 Syrian children are enrolled in schools (out of which 1,165 in camps) while 70 thousand children out of school. Accordingly, the estimated needed capital expenditure to build 120 schools to accommodate this number of students is around US$135.5 million. This drives to maximize the challenges that face the education sector in these poor areas including shifting 60 schools into double shifted system. Furthermore, due to the limited space and capacity in public schools, those Syrian children are not able to attend schools. It is worth mentioning that the annual cost of each student enrolled in the primary and basic stages is US$877, while the annual cost of each student in the secondary stage is around US$1195. Hence, 2

3 accommodating 78,531 students cost about US$81.4 million annually (which cannot be covered by the Government of Jordan). 2) Health Health services in Jordan are heavily subsidized by the Government, and more than 9 percent of the public budget is allocated for the health sector. The cost of providing health care to Syrians is taxing the national health system; since it is provided almost free of charge. The Ministry of Health has been conducting routine vaccination campaigns twice a week against BCG, measles, polio, hepatitis, T.B., and DTP. Around 83 thousand Syrian children were vaccinated against polio and measles and others. Furthermore, during 2013 the number of in-patients reached around 26 thousands, while the number surgical interventions exceeded 6 thousand operations. According to the Ministry of Health s estimations, the cost of providing annual primary and tertiary health services will cost around US$206, US$655,per patient, respectively. The total cost will be around US$874 per patient per year. Thus, the percentage of patients of any population that will be admitted to receive medical treatment for both primary and tertiary is estimated to be about 32 percent. Therefore, by hosting 600 thousand Syrians, the expected number of Syrian patients would be around 192 thousand, with a total cost reaching US$167.8 million. The cost of establishing one hospital is around US$28 million, whereas it is estimated that the cost of hospitals expansion is around US$9.3 million, and US$1.5 million is the cost of establishing one comprehensive healthcare center. Furthermore, it is estimated that the cost of each public healthcare center s expansion is around US$500 thousands. Thus, the total estimated cost to establish one new hospital, fourteen healthcare centers, as well as expand the existing hospitals and healthcare centers is around US$83.5 million. According to the Ministry of Health, every ten thousand citizens need about 20 beds, noting that the cost of establishing one bed is around US$197,700. Furthermore, in order to purchase necessary medicines and vaccines there is a need for a total funding of US$58.1 million for the Ministry of Health. 3) Employment The Ministry of Labor has highlighted concerns over the increasing numbers of job seekers in the Jordanian labor market brought about by the prolonged Syrian crisis. In many of Jordan s northern cities, refugees are competing with Jordanians for low-wage jobs. According to UNDP estimation, out of the 44,000 Syrian refugees in working age, no less than 30,000 refugees have found a job, half of them in the governorates of Irbid and Mafraq, while according to ILO estimation approximately 160,000 Syrians are working with irregular status in Jordan, in the construction, agriculture and services sectors. These regular and irregular workers are competing for jobs in areas where about 15.6 percent 1 of the population is unemployed, creating an exacerbation of tensions with host communities and, in some cases, with migrant labor communities. 4) Water and Sanitation Providing water and wastewater services add many challenges on the existing infrastructure, which requires rehabilitation and expansion of both water and wastewater networks. The aquifers in the area of the camps are at risk if steps are not undertaken to avoid the pollution, and the water infrastructure in the northern governorates is not able to withstand the significant pressures resulting from the additional population. Al-Za atari Camp currently shelters approximately 130,000 refugees and is at full capacity. Al-Azraq Camp will shelter approximately 55,000 refugees by the end of November 2013 (Phase 1) and approximately 130,000 by May 2014 (average influx of 500 refugees/day). Wastewater from both camps needs to be managed through connection to wastewater treatment. Furthermore, there are approximately 110,000 inhabitants 1 DOS 2008 Employment and Unemployment Survey 3

4 (including an estimated refugee influx of approx. 30 percent) hosted in communities neighboring the camps. The cost of hauling wastewater from some of these neighboring communities to a designated Waste Water Treatment Plant is very high resulting in environmentally polluting dumping in isolated wadis. Al-Za atari, and Al-Azraq camps are suffering from lack of nearby sewerage management sites. Sewerage is now being hauled to Al-Akaider Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) from Al-Za atari, which is already overloaded. Should no solutions for wastewater treatment options be implemented, the newly established Al-Azraq camp will need its wastewater to be hauled to Al-Akaidar or Ain Ghazal WWTPs. If Al-Akaidar option is continued to be used, then it will require considerable rehabilitation to upgrade its capacity. Both these WWTPs are reaching their full capacity or are not designed for the significantly more concentrated wastewater loads from these camps. The most urgent investments needed for water and wastewater services in Syrian Refugees Camps and Jordanian host communities are listed in the following table: Project Wastewater treatment plants (Compact Units) Wastewater networks in Zaatri Camp 4 Description Two units for each camp (Zaatri and Azraq Camps) Enhance wastewater collection system Wastewater networks in Azraq Camp Implement wastewater collection 4 Wastewater networks and treatment facilities for host communities affected by Refugees (Phase-I) Dhlail, Halabat and Khaldieh towns 10 Drilling new groundwater Wells and rehabilitating the Two new wells for Azraq Camp, and existing wells, in addition to water treatment units rehab of wells in Zaatri Camp 8 Total 40 (US$ million) Estimated Cost Furthermore, water consumption by Syrians has increased the pressure on the water stations, and it is affecting the portion of water available for citizens in Zarqa, Irbid, and Mafraq. Hence, there is an urgent need to finance and implement specific projects in the water sector in 2013 with a total amount of US$160.2 million to guarantee a sustainable availability of water and prevent pollution by wastewater. In addition to providing drinking water to the Rajehi Camp for military deserters with an annual cost of around US$280 thousand. According to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the annual running and maintenance cost is around US$102.3 per capita, this brings the total running cost to cover the needs of more than 600 thousands Syrian refugees to reach around US$62 million annually. 5) Municipalities The municipalities provide different services such as cleaning, insecticides, streets lightning, and new roads constructions, etc. According to the most recent surveys, many Syrians residing outside the camps in Mafraq, Irbid, Ajloun, Zarqa, and Jerash governorates, are adding more pressures on the services provided by the municipalities. These municipalities are already struggling to provide such services due to the limitation of resources and fiscal constraints. The estimated cost to provide all services and needs is US$176.4 million. Moreover, according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the annual cost per capita that is borne by the Government is estimated around US$115.8 to provide the needed level of services. Hence, by considering that more than 350,000 Syrians are distributed in the Northern Governorates, the incurred cost would be by the end of the year around US$40.5 million. 6) Electricity It will be necessary to increase the electricity generation capacity to cover the additional demand on electricity, particularly with the large number of Syrians present in the northern parts of the Kingdom. 10 8

5 Accordingly, there is an urgent need to install an additional capacity for electricity in 2013 to avert power shortages, which led Samra Electric Power Company to set-up a gas turbine with an installed capacity of 146 mega-watts at an estimated cost of US$110.1 million. The required power supply to meet the Syrian refugees needs is estimated at around 225 megawatt, noting that the consumption rate of Syrians is 25 percent less of Jordanians consumption. Each megawatt costs about US$1.5 million. Accordingly, the total cost to cover the capital investment to meet the additional demand would be around US$337.5 million. Irbid Electricity Company has proposed a plan as per UN agencies request, to provide the whole site of Al- Za atri Camp with a sufficient power supply. The camp area is around 6,000 donums, with 40 thousands prefabricated units. The needed electrical load to cover the area is 46 megawatt. The estimated cost of constructing and delivering the power supply is around US$14 million, in addition to US$5.6 million monthly as an estimated operational cost to run the Camp. The two artesian wells in Al-Za atri Camp, which have been drilled to provide the site with water needs to be operational. Thus, the electrical load needed is 500 kilowatt, with a total cost of capital expenditure of around US$339 thousands, in addition to an estimated monthly operational cost of US$122 thousands. This brings the total annual operational cost to around US$68.7 million to run the camp, as well as to run the two wells. Overall Assessment of Impact and Host Communities Needs The Government of Jordan has incurred over US$251 million during 2012 to provide and maintain services and basic needs in the form of subsidies and current expenditures for Syrians in cities and communities (not including the cost of establishing and operating camps covered mostly by UN agencies). Currently, there is a need to invest an amount of US$873.6 million in the different sectors as outlined above, in addition to the running and operational costs which are estimated to reach US$631.4 million to meet the needs of more than 600 thousand Syrian refugees in different sectors, and around US$174 million for civil defense and public security (particularly that the Syrian does not look it is going to end anytime soon in the future). While support is being provided by the international community to refugees in both inside and outside camps, only little is being directed to support the Jordanian host communities affected by the influx of Syrian refugees. UN agencies, supported by donors, international NGOs and additional donations, are catering to the needs of Syrians residing in camps and cover some social services of those outside; very little resources has been extended to mitigate the impact of the influx of Syrians on livelihoods and service delivery for Jordanians in the host communities. Although the Government of Jordan received some additional support from the donor community in the form of direct budget support (including the supplemental support from the United States in 2012 and 2013) or for specific development projects; yet this only covered about 15 percent of the added on cost incurred by the Government. On another front, the Government is now faced with the challenge of not only meeting the financial gap needed to cover the additional cost incurred as a result of hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan, but also in responding to the rising and urgent demands of Jordanian host communities calling for improved services and infrastructure in addition to promoting employment opportunities for Jordanians in different governorates In this context, a dedicated and well-coordinated response for Jordanian host community support has been increasingly called upon by the Government. Therefore, to respond to the increasing and urgent needs of host communities, particularly in improving services, infrastructure and promoting employment opportunities for Jordanians, the Government has recently established a Host Community Support Platform chaired by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation with the membership of concerned line ministries, UN agencies and the donor community. The Platform will serve as a guidance and coordination mechanism to address the emerging needs of the host communities, by providing the needed support from 5

6 the government and donor community in an effective and coordinated manner to ensure that development efforts are strongly sustained. Under this Platform, five sectoral task forces were established in health, education, water and sanitation, municipal services, and livelihood and employment to reflect the critical issues that are currently source of concerns in Jordanian host communities by conducting needs assessments and situation analyses to be incorporated in an updated Jordan Response/Resilience Plan. The task forces are expected to finalize their work by end of October to be presented to the Platform for endorsement. On the other hand, the Regional Response Plan (RRP6) for 2014, which is currently being prepared in close consolation with the Government of Jordan, aims at reinforcing the resilience of host communities, through support to basic services benefiting both host populations and refugees in urban and rural areas in the immediate term, while the Jordan Response/Resilience Plan is a medium-term plan that aims at sustaining social and economic stability in Jordan by providing immediate and medium-term support to Jordan s service delivery systems and to the Jordanian population affected by the crisis in the areas that are hosting to the highest numbers of refugees. The immediate objective of the updated Plan is to bring back the level of services Jordanians are receiving to its pre-crisis level and to mitigate the impact of the crisis on them. Conclusion The dynamics regarding the influx of Syrians remain highly unpredictable but signs show that the current situation in Syria is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, and it is expected that the costs stemming from hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan will continue to rise. The Government of Jordan as well as international agencies and donors need to be well prepared to provide needed and urgent support for a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude. The estimated additional cost needed to continue hosting 600 thousand Syrian refugees is expected to reach US$1.68 billion, excluding the additional costs for the camps. The conflict is evolving in its nature and becoming more sectarian which will lead to more violence and more humanitarian consequences on neighboring countries, and is also evolving in terms of the weapons and levels of violence, all this indicates that there is a need to address the situation of refugees in host countries and the pressures on host governments appropriately as the Syrian refugee crisis, and the influx, continues. Jordan will also keep its borders open, but its ability to continue to provide services is being undermined by the huge pressures caused by the large influx. 6

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