UN supports Jordan’s COVID-19 response
- Since the onset of the crisis, the UN has intensified its support for refugee and other vulnerable populations, while offering expertise and material assistance to support the national response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Against the backdrop of national efforts to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, the United Nations Country Team is working with the Government of Jordan to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on all people in the country.
Since the onset of the crisis, the UN has intensified its support for refugee and other vulnerable populations, while offering expertise and material assistance to support the national response to the Covid-19 emergency. The UN is now working with the government to address the immediate, medium and longer-term socio-economic impacts of the crisis.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is a massive and unprecedented health crisis that threatens the development, social and economic gains realized in recent years,” said Anders Pedersen, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan. “Collective work is needed now more than ever to reduce the impact of the virus. Only by working together, can we tackle the immediate and longer-term health and socio-economic repercussions of the crisis”.
Health preparedness and response
The UN team, led by the WHO, is supporting Jordan’s National Preparedness and Response Operational Plan to contain and respond to the virus. Support ranges from technical advice to procurement of medical and personal protection equipment (PPE) to gender-responsive and inclusive risk communication materials.
UNICEF and UNHCR has procured emergency health equipment and supplies valued at US$3.7 and $1.2 million, respectively to support the Ministry of Health. In addition, UNHCR has gifted six ambulances to the Ministry.
UNDP is supporting medical waste management in Jordan’s public hospitals to protect patients, medical workers and the public. This includes support for the Al-Bashir hospital ER triage tent, which allows the hospital to continue to care for some 2,000 non-Covid cases per day.
UNRWA is reducing the risk of spread of the virus in ten Palestinian refugee camps by removing over 300 tons of refuse daily as part of its environmental health program.
The continuity of learning
Following the nation-wide closure of schools, the UN adopted programming to make sure schoolchildren were able to continue their education, including in refugee camps. UNESCO, UNICEF and UNHCR are supporting the Ministry of Education to implement the ‘Education During Emergency Plan’ to provide online and low-tech solutions for vulnerable communities as well as pathways for return to schools. UNRWA is also implementing remote-learning techniques, targeted at over 118,000 Palestinian refugee students from UNRWA schools and training centers.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
UNICEF and partners have increased the allowance of water per person per day in refugee camps and procured emergency hygiene and cleaning supplies for vulnerable families in camps and host communities. UNICEF has also supplied the Ministry of Water and Irrigation with PPEs for workers at water and wastewater facilities.
Addressing gender-based violence (GBV)
Recognizing that domestic violence surges during crises, the UN is stepping up efforts to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and make sure life-saving assistance remains available.
UN Women is providing tools and guidance on gender-sensitive services to Security Sector Agencies and civil society organizations. Collaboration with the Jordanian Women’s Union continues, with a focus on securing safe and confidential protection services, access to shelters and essential supplies for GBV survivors.
UNICEF is working with the Family Protection Department to ensure reporting and referral of reported cases of violence continues during curfew and is scaling up preparedness at shelters. Efforts to combat online child exploitation are also continuing.
UNHCR and its protection partners continue to provide essential protection services to refugees, while UNFPA has prioritized the resumption of sexual and reproductive health services in the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps and continued support for GBV hotlines.
Food security and Livelihood
WFP is working closely with the government to continue cash assistance to address the basic food needs of half a million refugees across the kingdom. An assessment led by WFP and FAO is identifying the effect of Covid-19 on Jordan’s food commodities and markets, with results indicating that the government’s proactive measures were critical in maintaining a functioning agricultural sectors and food supply chain.
The UN will continue to support authorities to monitor consumer food prices and ensure the most vulnerable have access to sufficient food supplies. Maintaining and expanding food and cash assistance for refugees and other vulnerable people is a priority.
Through UNDP programs, continuing income generating activities for vulnerable Jordanians and Syrian refugees is also a priority, as is ongoing support to local MSMEs.
Social Protection and Governance
The UN is implementing a range of social protection and cash assistance program to respond to the needs of vulnerable people, as well as generating evidence to better inform planning and programming as part of the COVID-19 response.
UNICEF and WFP, in collaboration with the World Bank, are providing technical and joint programming assistance to the National Aid Fund (NAF) to strengthen and temporarily expand coverage. As part of the expansion, WFP and UNICEF are supporting the enrolment and opening of mobile wallets for both newly registered Takaful recipients and the 200,000 households under emergency cash support, while WFP also provided virtual financial literacy sessions.
UN Women is providing cash assistance for vulnerable Jordanian women and Syrian refugees through its Oasis centers and in refugee camps. UNICEF has also scaled up its cash transfer progamme ‘Hajati’ to target 30,000 boys and girls with continued learning and safety net for at-risk families.
UNRWA is working to reduce the impact of loss of livelihoods for Palestine refugees in the Jerash camp through a one-time cash assistance.
UNDP has re-oriented, repurposed and introduced digital initiatives in support of the Government’s Covid-19 response.
UNDP is also proceeding with the implementation of the joint program with UN Women to support women’s civic and political participation in light of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the context of COVID19.
UNICEF technical and vocational scholarships have supported young people with laptops and internet to continue learning online. Thousands of young people have signed up for the UNICEF-supported National Engagement Platform, Nahno, to volunteer their services for the online national effort. The platform is also providing intensive training to support community-level responses.
UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM have launched appeals with $27 million, $22.4 and $4.5 million respectively to continue to be able to support the people and Government of Jordan with urgent priority response interventions.