August 01

The Gulf War

On the 2nd August 1990, the First Gulf War began when Iraq Army invaded Kuwait prompting a stream of refugees to flee across the border to Jordan. It is estimated that those who sought refuge in Jordan because of the Gulf War amounted to a million refugees. Many were of Indian and Pakistani nationalities who had been working in the construction sector in Kuwait. A refugee camp near the town of Azraq in Northern Jordan was set up to host some of the refugees. A New York Times article from the time notes that the camp was initially home today to 13,000 Indian nationals who had lost relatively well-paid jobs in Kuwait

September 30

Refugees continue to flee the Gulf War to Jordan

By comparison with the accommodation for the very first refugees caught in the no-man's land on the border between Jordan and Iraq in appalling conditions, the Azraq camp seems an improvement: there are food, water and kerosene stoves for cooking. Trucks distribute rice, apples and milk to those awaiting passage by bus to Amman, where Air India and other chartered planes arrive to take them home.

November 1

UNHCR Office Opens in Jordan

In response to the increasing flows of refugees from Iraq and Kuwait to Jordan, UNHCR opened its first office in Jordan in November 1990 in Shmeisani area in Amman. By December, 845 individuals were officially registered with UNHCR Jordan and an agreement was sent to government of Jordan to confirm Janvier de Riedmatten as UNHCR Chief of Mission


January 24

First Memo signed with Government of Jordan

As a result of the increasing numbers of refugees fleeing to Jordan, UNHCR signed a memo with the Government of Jordan that Jordan is a temporary host country for Iraqi refugees, providing protection and shelter until a solution is able to be found. This memo also confirms that the office will be a Branch Office with a Representative instead of Chief of Mission. In March of 1991, Janvier de Riedmatten was confirmed as the first UNHCR Jordan Representative. Prior to this Memorandum, UNHCR’s Office in Cairo had been responsible for UNHCR actives in Jordan.

January 29

“It was so cold,” said Salman.
“God bless King Hussein and the Red Cross, they brought us food and blankets.” At the beginning of 1991, refugees continued to stream into Jordan as a result of the Gulf War.

March 01

Refugees arrive from Iraq at Queen Alia International Airport

As well as fleeing by foot and cars across the border, many refugees also journeyed to Jordan via air, arriving at Queen Alia International Airport where they were welcomed by UNHCR.

December 01

By the end of the year 4,537 individuals registered with UNHCR Jordan


November 12

Mohammad Hussein is among one of the first refugees who arrived in Jordan as a result of the Gulf War, with registration number 243, these are his memories of the last 30 years



increase of refugees over the years 1990-1995

As of August 1995, around 30,000 Iraqi refugees were estimated to call Jordan home and after four years as representative in Jordan, Janvier de Riedmatten was replaced by Zobida Hassim-Ashagrie


Ms Zobida Hassim-Ashagrie to UNHCR Jordan



Anwar ElBatta Reflects on Working For UNHCR in the 1990s


July 30

Cooperation agreement signed between the Government of Jordan and UNHCR

This Cooperation Agreement granted UNHCR the immunity and privileges necessary to conduct its activities relating to refugees in Jordan. It built upon the earlier agreement in 1991 and further defined UNHCR’S role and mandate to protect refugees in Jordan through providing services such as registration and humanitarian aid distributions. It is worth noting that under the agreements signed by with Government of Jordan, UNHCR’s role was clearly distinguished from that of UNRWA who had been in operation in Jordan since 1967 to aid Palestinian refugees.


February 21

Airstrike in Iraq threatens new wave of refugees to Jordan

In February 1998, with the threat of airstrikes on Iraq, UNHCR calls on countries bordering Iraq not to slam the door on refugees seeking aid. For Jordan, the fear of having to once again accommodate a deluge of Iraqi refugees was disquieting following the thousands of refugees the country had already received earlier in the decade. This time, as a precaution, Jordanian minister of interior Nayef al-Qadi announced that the Kingdom would provide humanitarian support for fleeing Iraqis but only on the Iraqi side of the border; none would be permitted entry into Jordan. Indeed, on December 17—the day after the strikes were initiated—Jordan closed its borders with Iraq to prevent an influx of refugees.


Appointment of Dario Carminati as Representative to UNHCR Jordan

April 05

On the 4th May 1998, an updated Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Jordan and UNHCR. The MoU adopts the refugee definition similar to the one adopted by the 1951 Refugee Convention, and introduced Jordan’s commitment and duties to international refugee protection including the recognition of the principle of non-refoulment, in addition to the recognition of refugee rights such as (access to Justice, employment, freedom to practice their religious beliefs without discrimination). Dario Carminati was also appointed representative to UNHCR Jordan in 1998. Illustration for MOU


July 02

King Abullah Crowned in Jordan

King Abdallah is coronated and continues to emphasize Jordan’s role as a safe haven for refugees. In a speech, in the same year of his coronation he stated “Obviously, we regard the refugees in Jordan as Jordanian citizens and we believe that this is their home and they are welcome to the country that has been their home for many years...We host about 33 percent of our population as refugees. We, the Jordanian position is: The right of return. We believe that this very, very important. And that is the case that Jordan will stand by.”

December 01

By December 1999, there were 48,768 individuals who have registered with UNHCR Jordan to seek international protection


At the beginning of 2002, it was estimated by Human Rights Watch that Jordan hosts between 250,000 and 300,000 Iraqis although only 5,000 refugees were registered with UNHCR. Most refugees chose to register with UNHCR due to resettlement opportunities. In accordance with an agreement signed between UNHCR and Jordan in April 1998, refugees at the time were only granted temporary asylum for a maximum period of six months, after which they become illegal aliens, subject to daily fines and at risk of return to Iraq. The de facto presence of refugees waiting for resettlement is tolerated by the authorities pending their departure, although they have no permission to work. In May 2002, Sten A. Bronee was appointed as Representative to UNHCR Jordan


March 19

US Invasion of Iraq & 2nd Gulf War Begins

With the US Invasion of Iraq, the 2nd Gulf War began and resulted in a new influx of refugees to Jordan

March 29

Statement by UNHCR Representative Sten Bronee

"Thank you for coming to Amman’s launch of the UN’s inter-agency flash appeal. While we hope that UNHCR’s role in caring for the war’s victims will be small, nevertheless, we must work to ensure that countries bordering on Iraq are able to receive any desperate Iraqis who may seek asylum. Governments in the region already shelter more than half the more than 400,000 recognised Iraqi refugees in the world. Our job is to help them to be prepared for a possible new influx. The UN refugee agency’s share of this appeal is $154 million to support the efforts of governments in the region to assist and protect any Iraqi refugees who may flee. We are working with governments and national relief societies, like the Red Crescent movement, to prepare camps throughout the region. So far, we have spent more than $29 million shipping supplies to Jordan, Turkey and Iran, where we already have stockpiles sufficient for more than 300,000 people. There have been no significant refugee movements reported since the war began. This is not unexpected, these are early days, and Iraqis have been weakened by the collapse of their country’s economy and 13 years of sanctions. They may lack the means to reach distant frontiers or be too afraid to go far on roads where they may be exposed to attacks. Perhaps Iraqis are hoping to wait - out the conflict in their own homes with their meagre supplies of food and other resources. But the right to seek asylum is a basic human right. High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers has called on all countries in this region to keep their borders open to all Iraqi civilians who may flee. Governments have indicated that they would abide by their humanitarian obligations, but donor countries must ensure that funds are available. Australia, Japan and Switzerland, through their embassies here in Amman, have been particularly helpful in helping UNHCR to boost Jordan’s preparedness effort, for which I am grateful. There is nothing more we would like to see at the end of this conflict than that all our preparedness efforts were in vain, that no one needed the protection of a refugee camp. But, in order to ensure that no country in this region is caught unprepared, we do need the full support of the donor community. Thank you."

March 31

Japan supports Iraqi refugees in Jordan

"In Jordan, the refugee agency has received two planeloads of humanitarian aid from the Japanese government. On Monday, two Boeing 747 cargo jets piloted by crews from Japan’s Self-Defense Air Force landed at Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport with 160 10-person tents, which were received by Japan’s ambassador in Jordan, Koichi Obata, and UNHCR representative Sten Bronee. “We’re very pleased with the contribution of the Japanese government,” said Bronee. “When the needs arise, we’ve always had a very positive response from the Japanese government. This comes at an important time. The crisis has only just started.” UNHCR plans to send part of the Japanese contribution to its stockpile in eastern Jordan. The Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation, UNHCR’s main partner in the country, has prepared a refugee camp in Ruwaished, some 60 km from the Iraqi border. This site can shelter up to 10,000 refugees, and can be expanded if more Iraqis arrive."

April 22

Concerns are growing over the fate of refugees at temporary camps on the border with Jordan.

In order to accommodate the new wave of refugees fleeing Iraq to Jordan, a camp was established in Ruwaished in Northern Jordan.

December 11

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visits refugees in Ruwaished Camp in her first visit to Jordan

“In the very short time I have been here, I have come to appreciate the specific constraints Jordan is facing,” said the Goodwill Ambassador. “But I really hope Jordan will be able to continue its long-standing tradition of providing humanitarian sanctuary to those people who feel they need to leave Iraq.”

December 23

Women’s union wins UNHCR award in Jordan

In recognition of its tireless work with refugee women and children in Jordan, the Jordanian Women’s Union was recently presented with UNHCR’s 2003 Award for the Promotion of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Refugee Women


March 06

Challenges for refugees in Jordan continued to escalate

"By mid 2004, approximately 20,000 Iraqi refugees were registered with UNHCR in Jordan, and over 250,000 were thought to be in the country, but there remained 1,428 refugees of mostly Palestinian and Iranian Kurdish nationalities who were also fleeing the conflict in Iraq stranded at the border. UNHCR continued to advocate for the Ruweished refugee camp to remain open to accommodate these refugees until a solution was found. Sten Bronee, UNHCR Jordan’s Representative at the time spoke to media about the challenges that refugees were facing."

May 17

Life for refugees in Ruwaished refugee camp

October 01

UNHCR continues to expand aid for refugees

In 2004, with increasing numbers of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, UNHCR staff continued to undertake regular missions to the Iraqi Border and Ruwaished Refugee Camp to distribute humanitarian aid. At this time, the office in Jordan was also upgraded from a branch office to a regional office.

December 01

Over the course of 2004, 6,338 new refugees had registered with UNHCR Jordan. Sten Bronee, UNHCR Jordan’s Representative at the time spoke to media about the challenges that refugees were facing.


December 01

5,785 individuals registered with UNHCR Jordan

June 01

Reuniting refugee families at Ruweished camp.

" The desert camp in eastern Jordan was the scene of emotional reunions when 743 people arrived from the no man’s land between Jordan and Iraq. Several Palestinian families were deep in embrace after spending two years apart."


March 19

Refugees from Iraq continue to arrive in Jordan

Eighty-eight Palestinians (including 42 children), fearing intimidation and harraement, left their homes in Baghdad for the NO Man's Land Iraq and Jordan. UNHCR met them at the border



2007 saw a sudden increase of the number of Iraqi refugees in Jordan. UNHCR continued to help them support their basic needs. In addition, 2007 also saw the start of UNHCR's cash based intervention program in Jordan.


February 08

An estimated 500,000 Iraqis have fled the war at home and settled in Jordan. Imran Riza, the representative in Amman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, discusses the challenges facing Iraqis in Jordan, and the ways in which they differ from more traditional refugees.


June 18

100,000 Iraqi Refugees resettled from the Middle East

UNHCR chief António Guterres announces that UNHCR agency has referred 100,000 Iraqi refugees for resettlement from Middle East countries since 2007, many of whom came from Jordan


March 15

Syria Crisis

As protests and unrest in Daraa, Southern Syria started to spread, Syrian refugees began to flee across the border to Jordan.

December 31

"By the end of 2011, 1,842 Syrian refugees were officially registered with UNHCR, but many more had fled to Jordan. Most of the refugee families at that time were welcomed by the Jordanian host communities - reports from the time highlight that in Mafraq and Ramtha approximately 337 Syrian families were living with Jordanian host families. For those who chose to rent accommodation, however, buildings were not well equipped, and so UNHCR continued to lead the humanitarian response in distributing food, clothes and cash assistance to the newly arrived families. "





"As the crisis in Syria continued to escalate further and more and more refugees arrived in Jordan seeking a safe haven. The Government of Jordan operated an ‘open door’ policy towards refugees and although Jordan was not a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees it continued to operate under the MOU signed with UNHCR in 1997 recoginising refugees and allowing UNHCR 6 months to register and resettle them. In the case of Syrian Refugees, UNHCR issues them with ‘Asylum Seeker’ certificates. At the beginning of 2012, Andrew Harper was appointed as Representative to UNHCR Jordan and in an interview with the BBC reflected on the challenges that refugees were facing ""Many of these people are severely traumatised and, therefore, are very suspicious of authority. So it's often very difficult even finding them to offer and facilitate the help they need.” Despite these challenges, UNHCR worked with the Jordanian Government to support the refugee families access health and education services and deal with the trauma and psychological effects of what they had been through. At the time UNHCR also ran a transit facility in Ramtha near the border, which as of February was reported to have seen over 1,000 Syrians transit through it, and currently housed some 380 people in very cramped conditions. As of January, 2,395 Syrian refugees were registered with UNHCR but it was estimated that there could be up to 70,000 in the country. Many refugees were apprehensive about registering with UNHCR at first due to the fact that many had crossed the border illegally, crossing through the desert, rather than using passports at the official border checkpoints. "

March 01

Number of registered Syrian refugees in Jordan continues to increase

"By March 2012, 5,000 refugees were registered with UNHCR Jordan as the conflict in Syria entered its 2nd year. The majority of refugees at that time had come from Homs and Daraa citing the security situation and their political opinions as the main reasons for fleeing. The Ramtha transit facility continued to play an important role in supporting the arrival of refugees to Jordan providing temporary shelter, protection services and a health clinic. UNHCR staff increasingly operated out of the facility in AlBashabsheh interviewing the new arrivals in preparation for their registration with UNHCR The cornerstone of UNHCR Jordan’s response has been the provision of food and NFI assistance to vulnerable Syrians through its implementing partners, JHAS and Caritas. Distributions include much needed household items including; mattresses, blankets, bed linen sets, pillows, towels, heaters, mats, underwear, kitchen sets, jerry cans along with female hygiene products."

May 16

Update as of May 2012

June 23

Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan

"Initially launched in March 2012, requesting S $84.1 million to address the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees for a period of six months through September 2012, the plan was updated in June to reflect the increasing number of refugees,75 per cent of whom were women and children. In Jordan, UNHCR appealed for $23 million."

July 04

DAFI Scholarships Awarded to Iraqi Refugee Students

"“We as young people, we plan, dream and we have a lot of goals, but then we realize that our aims can't be achieved. Not because we don't have the ability, but we simply can't pay the fees…” Hadeel Matti, an Iraqi female student in Jordan. Amid the increasing numbers of Syrian refugees in Jordan, UNHCR was also still supporting the Iraqi refugee population. Since 2007, the DAFI scholarship program had been a key part of this response in supporting refugees to access university and achieve a higher education. In 2012, 37 Iraqi refugee students were awarded with a scholarship"

July 29

Zaatari Refugee Camp Opens

"After months of preparations, Zaatari Refugee Camp, located just outside the Northern Jordanian city of Mafraq was opened. At the time it was estimated that 1,500 refugees were arriving to Jordan every night through informal border crossings, mostly from the Da’raa governorate in southern Syria. Up until the opening of Zaatari most of the new arrivals, some 10,000 Syrian refugees, were being sheltered in four overcrowded transit centers near the border. “We are seeing a surge of women and children, the majority who have suffered enormously in Syria. We obviously do not want to host refugees who have suffered so much in a camp like Za’atri, but we have no choice,” said Andrew Harper, UNHCR’s Representative in Jordan. “We are the first to admit that it is a hot desolate location. Nobody wants to put a family who has already suffered so much in a tent, in the desert, but we have no choice. We are prepared to provide the most basic of assistance and maximum protection, but we have to work with what we have.” The Jordanian government estimates that some 140,000 Syrian refugees have entered the Kingdom since March last year. More than 50,000 of them are receiving protection and assistance through UNHCR."

August 28

Doubling of refugees fleeing to Jordan

"This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. 28 August 2012 | Español
The pace of arrivals from the Syrian border to the Za’atri camp in the north of Jordan has doubled in the past week. 10,200 people arrived in the seven days between 21-27 August compared to 4,500 the previous week. More than 22,000 people have been received at Za’atri since it opened on 30 July.
Refugees say many thousands more are waiting to cross amid violence around Daraa and we believe this could be the start of a much larger influx. Some of those who have crossed in recent days (especially Friday) report being bombed by aircraft. There are also reports of shelling, mortars and other weapons-fire.
Typically, refugees cross the border at night and are taken straight to the camp by IOM and the Jordanian army. But 1,147 refugees arrived yesterday (Monday) morning and were followed by another 1,400 overnight and early this morning.
Most of the arrivals over the past week have come from the governorate of Daraa, including the villages of Mahjeh, Kherbet Ghazala, Tafas, Dael, Hrak, Al Sawar (also known as Sura), Msefria, and Hayt. Many refugees report being displaced up to five or six times inside Syria before they fled the country.
We have received in the camp over the past week an increased number of unaccompanied children. Some children report that their parents have died, or are staying behind in Syria to look after relatives, or are working in other countries. Some children, who did not have passports, said they were sent ahead of their parents who will follow later.
UNHCR, alongside its partner the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, is racing to meet the humanitarian needs of the rapidly expanding refugee population at Za’atri with shelter, food, water and healthcare. We are urgently pitching more tents and expanding the camp, preparing new ground with a base course of fine gravel to help control dust at the site. Seventeen trucks have been dispatched from our regional warehouse in Zarqa to reinforce stocks of tents and blankets.
The fast pace of arrivals has affected our efforts to improve conditions for the existing population, but work on this continues. Over the past few days our staff and NGO partners have been identifying people among the refugee population to serve on committees so refugees can be involved in the running of the camp. We are planning to build a second road into the camp to ease congestion on the narrow road which currently provides the only entry and exit point."

September 18

Increasing media attention on the refugee influx to Jordan

December 01


"By the end of 2012, 135,566 individuals were registered with UNHCR Jordan including the newly arrived Syrian refugees. UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited Jordan to see for herself the impact of the crisis. “Winter is already here and UNHCR and its partners still lack 50 per cent of the funds needed to get everyone through the next few difficult months,” Jolie said. “Despite all the good work being done so far, it’s clear here on the ground that all the resources are now stretched to the limit. This is going to be a very tough few months. Winter can be harsh here, even dangerous for refugees who may already be weakened by their ordeal. Many have been brutalized in unimaginable ways. They deserve all the support we can give them.”"



January 01

$1billion required for Syrian Refugees

"The dramatic increase in the number of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) across the region in 2012 continued to require a large-scale response to address the needs of both refugees already present in host countries and new arrivals who continue to pour into Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, at a rate of up to several thousand a day. As of the beginning of 2013, there were over 500,000 refugees registered with UNHCR in the region. To cover for their needs, the Syria Regional Response Plan called for $1billion of funding, $495,000 for Jordan. A pledging conference held in January in Kuwait aimed to kickstart this funding. "

January 25


"In January 2013, 30,000 Syrian refugees arrived to Jordan and in total 206,630 Syrians were registered with UNHCR. In response to the increasing numbers of refugees, UNHCR announced that they were beginning preparations to open a new camp.
The United Nations today announced it is working with Jordan and partners to open a second major refugee camp by the end of the month as the number of displaced Syrians continues to rise, with a record 30,000 people arriving to the neighbouring nation this month alone. “UNHCR is working with the Government of Jordan and partners to prepare a second major camp close to Za’atari, which will be known as Halabat camp,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Melissa Fleming, told reporters in Geneva. “Up to 5,000 people will be accommodated initially in the camp, with a plan to increase the capacity to 30,000 people.”
The recent influx of refugees represents a significant contrast with previous months, when some 16,000 arrived to Za’atari camp in December, 13,000 in November and 10,000 in October. UNHCR estimates that the population in the camp currently stands at 65,000 people. Ms. Fleming reported that most refugees are families, female-headed households and elderly people. New arrivals report targeted violence, property loss, lack of medical treatment, high food and fuel prices and scarce water and electricity as reasons for their flight. “Staff at Za’atari are working day and night to respond to the new arrivals and the growing needs of the refugees in the camp,” Ms. Fleming said, adding that the agency is increasing its staffing for the camp and tens of thousands of tents are being delivered by truck along with relief items. Za’atari camp has three hospitals, as well as several healthcare facilities, with some 51 specialists and 70 nurses in addition to general practitioners and paramedics. However, resources are being strained with the recent increase in arrivals. Over the past month, between seven and 10 babies were born each day in the camp, Ms. Fleming said. In addition to people arriving to Za’atari, UNHCR is also registering refugees in Amman who are living in the city. “We hope to register over 50,000 refugees in urban settings by the end of February. A new registration centre in Irbid will open soon, further increasing our registration capacity,” Ms. Fleming said. To date UNHCR has registered, or issued appointments to register, 206,630 Syrians in Jordan. According to the Government, there are over 300,000 Syrian refugees in the country."

March 08

A fire in Zaatari spurs the transition from tents to caravans

In March, 35 tents in Zaatari refugee camp caught fire as the result of an electrical shortage. Luckily there were no serious injuries but UNHCR started to ramp up the transition from tents to more solid shelters of pre-fabricated caravans as a result.

March 17

Prince Charles visits Jordan

Prince Charles of Wales and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, met with United Nations staff assisting Syrian refugees in a camp in Jordan during a visit that coincided with urgent calls from the head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for emergency funding to aid more than one million Syrian refugees and another two million people displaced inside Syria.

June 01

Iraqi refugees mark 10 years in Jordan

"In 2013, 10 years after the onset of the 2nd Gulf War, approximately 29,000 Iraqi refugees were registered with UNHCR, the majority of whom were extremely inpoverished and had run out of the savings they had when they first arrived. A vulnerability assessment, conducted by CARE in March 2013, found that most Iraqis rely on ""subsistence-level"" assistance; meaning, on average cash payments of 119 Jordanian dinars (US$168) per month, when they have expenses exceeding that income by JD167 ($236). To fill the income gap, Iraqis borrow from family and friends, take loans, eat less, and share housing, the survey found. UNHCR continued to advocate for solutions for the Iraqi refugees. In 2013, 1,500 refugees were due to be resettled in the US, Australia and Canada. "

June 20

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, mark World Refugee Day in Jordan

July 29

Zaatari Camp marks one year of being open

It was originally seen as a temporary stop. One year later Za’atari is home to 120,000 people, mostly women and children, making it the world’s second largest refugee camp.

October 01

UNHCR clears backlog of registering refugees through new technology

"With the introduction of iris scanning technology to biometrical register refugees, UNHCR was able reduce the waiting times for refugee registration and clear the backlog of 60,000 refugees who had been waiting to be registered in July 2013. In August 2013, UNHCR also opened its new registration centre in Khalda, Amman, which was capable of processing up to 3,000 refugees per day. Combined with its office in Irbid, capable of processing 1,300 refugees a day, refugees subsequently only had to wait an average of 50 minutes to receive their registration documents and asylum seeker certificates." "

December 01

Strains on national systems begin to show

"By the end of 2013, 674,985 individuals were registered with UNHCR Jordan and the focus was increasingly turning to the strain that hosting this population was putting on Jordanian national systems and services. Almost 80 Jordanian schools – most of them in the north had ntroduced two daily school sessions to cope with the influx of Syrians and around 85,000 Syrians were registered in the national education system, in addition to 21,000 Syrians in refugee camps (compared with 1.3m Jordanians). In addition, water shortages became increasingly common. “We live in a chronic water problem,” said Hazem Nasser, Jordan’s minister of water. “And we are now at the edge of moving from a chronic water problem into a water crisis. The element that will trigger this movement is the number of Syrian refugees.” UNHCR continued to support the Government of Jordan to meet these challenges."

December 13

Winter storms hit Jordan

"At Jordan's sprawling Zaatari refugee camp, which is home to 120,000 refugees, wind toppled at least 10 tents overnight, leaving residents vulnerable to freezing temperatures. ""It was very cold, windy and muddy and all I was able to think of is how to protect my wife and four children,"" said Ali Shatri, 36. He said aid workers quickly evacuated him and other families whose tents were blown down to other secure areas in the camp. Zaatari spokesman Wadah Hmoud said two days of heavy rains have flooded several areas of the camp. He said aid workers were struggling to replace tents with prefabricated housing units for the camp's 120,000 inhabitants. "



February 19

Malala Visits Za'atari Refugee Camp

March 14

UNHCR Branch Office in Amman moves from Deir Ghbar area to Khalda

March 18

Jordan study finds tough living conditions among Syrian urban and other non-camp refugees

"As refugees increasingly move outside refugee camps towards urban areas, (about 80% of them) a new study in 2014 revealed the struggles they are facing - 50 per cent of refugee dwellings are inadequate - 61 per cent of Syrian children covered did not go to school during the 2012-2013 academic year - The proportion of refugees who reported receiving an income from humanitarian assistance and charities decreased from 63 per cent to 49 per cent. ""After escaping the horrors of war at home, hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have fled the violence and deprivation are facing a second crisis in their place of refuge,"" said Andrew Harper, the UNHCR representative in Jordan, in a recent report. ""Syrian refugees in Jordan are hanging on by a thread: struggling to keep a roof over their heads and to earn enough money to get by."" https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2014/3/532821556/jordan-study-finds-tough-living-conditions-among-syrian-urban-other-non.html https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26678790"

March 31

UNHCR and Government of Jordan update cooperation memo

"Interior Minister Hussain Majali and UNHCR Representative to Jordan Andrew Harper sign a memorandum of understanding which extended the validity of a refugee identification card to one year instead of six months. It also amends the time frame that UNHCR had to respond to refugee asylum requests from 30 to 90 days to allow for the additional time needed to register the increased numbers of Syrian refugees."

April 08

Azraq Refugee Camp Opens

"In order to relieve the pressure on the increasingly crowded Zaatari Refugee Camp, Azraq Camp, located in the desert 100 kilometres east of the Jordanian capital, Amman, opens at the end of April 2014. Azraq, with nearly 5,000 shelters capable of housing up to 25,000 refugees is designed to better cope with the high winds and extremes of temperature in Jordan’s eastern desert. Abu Saleh and his family are among the first to arrive in the camp."

April 22

Syrian Refugees Continue to prioritise their children's education

May 26

Refugee cancer patients go untreated for lack of funds, warns the UN Refugee Agency

"The number of refugees with health-related problems, including cancer, is overwhelming health systems in countries of asylum, the UN Refugee Agency’s top medical expert has warned, forcing UNHCR offices and partners to make agonising decisions over who does and doesn’t receive care. The most common form of cancer amongst refugees is breast cancer, accounting for almost a quarter of all applications in Jordan to UNHCR’s ‘Exceptional Care Committee’, or ECC, which decides whether to fund expensive treatments. In Jordan for example, the ECC could only approve 246 out of 511 (or 48 percent of) refugee applications for cancer treatment between 2010 and 2012. The main reason for denial was poor prognosis, meaning a patient had little chance of recovery, and the committee decided the limited amount of money was better spent on other patients. “We face a terrible decision over who to help,” says Dr Khalifa. “Some patients have a good prognosis, but the cost of treating them is too high. These decisions affect all of us psychologically.’ "

May 28

Pope Francis Visits Jordan

Pope Francis visits refugees in Jordan, where he expresses deep concern for the humanitarian emergency caused by the war in Syria. For Joseph Sabra, the encounter brought renewed hope after years of loss and uncertainty.

June 13

Football provides a source of hope in Zaatari

June 19

Refugees continue to flee to Jordan

With escalating fighting in Syria, especially around Aleppo, Jordan saw a new wave of refugees arriving to its borders. This footage shows UNHCR staff members going to meet them at the border

July 30

Entrepreneurship continues to flourish in Zaatari Camp

Three years into the Syria crisis, refugees in Zaatari and across Jordan started to open theiir own-businesses and become more self-sufficient as it looked as the conflict back home continued.

August 07

UNHCR Regional Office Established in Amman

An agreement signed between the Government of Jordan and UNHCR for the establishment of the MENA bureau in Jordan.

December 01

3RP Launched

The first Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan led by UNHCR and UNDP, was released. It brought together national plans - including the Jordan response plan - in one cohesive response plan for the Syria crisis across the Middle East in order to ensure protection, humanitarian assistance and strengthen resilience.



March 31

Kuwait III

The third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria held in Kuwait saw donors pledge US$3.8 billion to aid people affected by Syria Crisis

June 20

World Refugee Day 2015

To mark World Refugee Day, UNHCR Jordan promotes a project to pay tribute to refugees for their resilence and courage as well as to recognize and praise the hospitality and generosity of the Jordanian people: colourful handprints on large spreads of recycled canvas taken from unused tents in Zaatari Camp become a symbolic representation of cooperation, togetherness and solidarity.

December 01


UNHCR begins protection mission at Rukban and Hadalat, to the North-East of the Kingdom, where thousands of Syrian asylum seekers were stranded in the no-man's land



January 01/


5,087 individuals registered with UNHCR Jordan. Stefano Severe appointed as UNHCR Representative to Jordan.

February 04

London Conference

Global Leaders meet in London to pledge their support for the growing needs of displaced Syrians as well as Syrian refugees in the region, including Jordan . Signature of the Jordan Compact - first attempt to open legal job opportunities for refugees in their coutnry of asylum.


June 01

Suspension of missions to Rukban and Hadalat crossing points due to an insecurity incident. More than 50,000 refugees are stranded at the camp, living in deplorable conditions while awaiting entry to Jordan.

December 01

Opening of health clinic at Ruwaished to provide emergency medical care to the displaced Syrian population at no man's land.


April 04

1st Brussels Conference

The International Community and the Governments of refugee-hosting countries come together in Brussels at the 1st "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region" conference to reaffirm commitments to help millions of affected civilians in Syria as well as Syrian refugees and the communities generously hosting them. XXX USD are pledged by the donors.

May 17

1st Solar Plant Opens in a refugee camp (Azraq Camp) worldwide

Inauguration of the World's first Renewable Energy Plant ever built in a refugee camp. The power plant will contribute to provide electricity to 36,000 syrian refugees in Azraq Refugee Camp by 2018.

August 09

Launch of the Jordan Response Plan for Syria Crisis 2017-2019

A three-year plan that seeks to address the needs and vulnerabilities of Syrian refugees and Jordanian communities and institutions affected by the crisis.

November 14/

Solar Plant Opens in Zaatari Camp

World’s largest solar plant built in Zaatari refugee camp. The plant will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions from the camp by 13,000 metric tonnes per year, equivalent to 30,000 barrels of oil. It will also deliver annual savings of around US$5.5 million, which UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – will be able to reinvest in vital humanitarian assistance.

December 05

1st #Withrefugees Bazaar

UNHCR holds its very first #WithRefugees Winter Bazaar at UNHCR premises in Amman where refugees from all over the Kingdom come and sell their handmade items to the public with the revenue going back to them to support their families with the harsh months of Winter appproaching.


March 04

Ministry of Interior and UNHCR launch the joint 'Rectification of status' campaign to regularize the status of Syrian refugees living informally in urban areas in Jordan.

April 24

Brussels II Conference - Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.

One year after Brussels I, and following the previous three pledging conferences in Kuwait as well as the London Conference in 2016, the Conference renewed and strengthened the political, humanitarian and financial commitment of the international community to support the Syrian people, the neighbouring countries, and the communities most affected by the conflict.

June 20

1st #WithRefugees Summer Bazaar

UNHCR holds its first #WithRefugees Summer Bazaar on the occasion of World Refugee Day at Ras Al-Ain Hangar and Gallery in Amman. 35 vendors from within the refugee community and the Jordanian host community showcase their talents and skills through their purely handmade products.

October 15

Jaber/Nassib border reopens

The border crossing of Jaber-Nassib between Jordan and Syria reopens after being closed for three years. UNHCR does not promote nor facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

December 06

2nd #WithRefugees Winter Bazaar

UNHCR inaugurates its second #WithRefugees Winter Bazaar at one of Amman's largest malls, City Mall. Refugees and Jordanians host communities come together to sell their handy crafts to the general public to make an income and thus support them and their families ahead of the winter season.


March 12

Brussels III conference

Supporting the future of Syria and the region - Brussels III pledging Conference. To renew and strengthen the political, humanitarian and financial commitment of the international community to support the Syrian people, the neighbouring countries hosting them and the communities most affected by the conflict.

June 20

Amman #Cityoflight

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, inaugurates UNHCR’s second #WithRefugee Summer Bazaar at Greater Amman Municipality Palm Yard and City Hall and officially designates Amman as a City of Light for refugees. Amman is one of the growing number of cities that are giving hope to the world's most vulnerable by embracing them and giving them a chance to become part of the social fabric.

December 05

3rd #WithRefugees Winter Bazaar

UNHCR opens its third #WithRefugees Winter Bazaar to the public at Galleria Mall in Amman. More than 40 refugee and Jordanian vendors participated in selling their items that included furniture, foods, accessories, clothes and paintings to the general public in a three-day event.


February 10

Press Release: New Representative appointed at UNHCR Jordan

Appointment of Dominik Bartsch as UNHCR Representative to Jordan

March 16

COVID 19 pandemic reaches Jordan

Defense Law activated - Begining of a nation-wide lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. UNHCR scales up its Contingency and Response plan and supports the Ministry of Health in the early preparedness and response. UNHCR staff decides to stay in refugee camps to be able to maintain direct contact, spread awareness and deliver much needed support to refugees.

June 20

Virtual concert for WRD

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, UNHCR Jordan holds a virtual commemoration of World Refugee Day, for the first time ever, in cooperation with UN Chamber Music Society and UNHCR New York Office through a concert that brought together refugee musicians and international artists .

June 21

Launch of JRP 2020-2022

Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation launches the Jordan Response Plan for 2020-2022, requesting XXX USD to support Jordan in maintaining quality service provision for Syrian refugees and host communities.

June 29

Brussels IV conference

Supporting the future of Syria and the region - Brussels IV virtual Conference. The conference succeeded in mobilising aid to Syrians inside the country and in the neighbouring countries, including for hosting communities, through pledges for 2020, and multi-year pledges for 2021 and beyond.

September 15

Grandi hails Jordan’s inclusion of refugees in COVID response

“I am grateful to Jordan as a major refugee host country for its continued hospitality and efforts to include refugees in the national health system and coronavirus response plan [...] I urge donors to maintain solidarity with Jordan as it deals with the twin threats to health and livelihoods faced by refugees and vulnerable Jordanians alike.” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said during his visit to Jordan amid Covid crisis.

December 14

UNHCR @ 70 anniversary

Since its establishment in 1950, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees marks today the 70th anniversary; serving over 70 million displaced people in more than 135 countries.