Analysis of Impact of Influx of Syrian Refugees on Host Communities

 Full Report - PDF File  النسخة العربية

Executive Summary

· Jordan has received a large influx of refugees posing various challenges at the national and local level with the largest impact on the northern governorates which have been hosting the largest number of refugees. Scarce resources and permitted access of refugees to health and education services have resulted in a huge burden on the local communities in these governorates

· A major challenge to the municipalities, especially in Mafraq and Irbid, is providing adequate support for host communities. The services, resources, and infrastructure of these municipalities have been strained by the influx of the refugees

Key Findings

The analytical study is based on the results of the 2013 household income and expenditure survey conducted by the Department of Statistics and compared with the results of the 2010 survey. The analysis focuses on the living situation in the Mafraq and Irbid governorates and the impact on the standard of living with the impact being measured using the Multidimensional Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. By default, the findings in this summary are focused on these two governorates.


· Despite many efforts to engage in economic stabilization and liberalization, Jordan is facing economic and social challenges as the Syrian refugee influx is draining already limited national resources

· While the problems related to municipal services such as solid waste management, water, sanitation and infrastructure are pre-existing, they have been compounded. Additional municipal needs include energy resources, cash assistance/budget and social services support

· Government services are also impacted by the Syrian refugee influx:

o Limited availability of water through the water distribution network

o Quality of water worsening

o Increased tonnage of solid waste generated that government entities are not able to handle

o Increased pressure, burden, and overcrowding on health and educational services

· The large influx of Syrian refugees has impacted unemployment and, to a lesser extent, housing shortages.There is increased competition for employment and housing, along with the crowding of schools and healthcare centers which are potential sources of tension, antagonism, and disruption of social peace in the host communities


Solid Waste Management

· The solid waste management problem is the number one priority with immediate intervention in the form of vehicles, equipment and pesticides required to counteract various issues including:

o The increase in their local populations and the influx of Syrian arrivals are increasing the tonnage of waste generated

o There is aging infrastructure in place

o There is insufficient and/or broken-down waste collection containers

o The drainage capacity of landfills is limited

o There is inadequate waste collection (weekly collection) thus increasing health hazards

o There is not a large enough workforce to run the system

o Dumping and burning waste are increasing general health hazards in addition to attracting insects and rodents, spreading unpleasant odors and contaminating the water, soil and air



· Jordan is considered one of the four poorest countries in the world in terms of availability of water and the country is facing added pressure on its already limited water sources due to increased demand for water from both the local population and the influx of refugees

· Water is the second most urgent problem for several reasons:

o Inadequate water service due to increased demand

o Old water distribution network with high loss rates thus less dependence on water distribution network

o Inadequate frequency of water supply(once a week for a few hours), by rotation and by neighborhood

o Deteriorating water purity, salty or muddy in multiple instances

o Increasing purchase of water via water tank trucks which is becoming expensive

o New housing areas are not covered by the old water distribution network and require expansion



· Syrian refugees are competing with Jordanians for housing as they are assisted through a lease contract in cash by UNHCR

· The increase in demand by Syrian refugees coupled with the limited supply of housing is leading to increasing rents, especially in Mafraq, which many lower-income Jordanians, especially young newlyweds, cannot afford

· There is a noticeable shift in the type of houses inhabited by families in these governorates away from independent housing and towards apartments

· Often more than one Syrian family is living in rented places which is placing further burden on garbage collection, water and electricity consumption, and sanitation



· The education sector has been affected significantly by the influx of Syrian refugees in the following ways:

o School classrooms are becoming overcrowded, which was already a problem before, with many schools converting to two-shift timings resulting in teachers working overtime that they are not compensated for

o Schools are becoming too old and need maintenance or expansion due to population increase (local and Syrian refugees)

· Thus, education is a number one government service priority



· The Syrian crisis has exacerbated the weaknesses of the healthcare sector in Jordan. The government has permitted refugees free access to health services with no conditions which increased the pressure on all types of public health services with Syrian arrivals overcrowding health centers and competing for treatment and medication

· While the Government has made efforts to deal with the added pressure primarily by employing competent medical staff and providing necessary medication, a dissatisfaction of the quality of healthcare services provided has resulted



· There has been a noticeable correlation between the unemployment rate in Jordan and the influx of Syrian refugees with an increase in unemployment coinciding with the increase in refugees

· Syrians are competing with Jordanians for work opportunities, especially in lower paid jobs such as farmhands and vocational occupations, where they seem to possess better experience

Recommended Actions/Policies

An overview of the key recommended actions across the various areas is provided.



· Substitute the subsidies on products and services with an overall social safety net for Jordanians

· Direct financial and technical support to face the burden on municipal services and increase financial support to match demand in Mafraq and Irbid and provide the needed workforce and the rights tools to lessen the burden


Solid Waste Management

· Provide waste collection vehicles and equipment for solid waste management

· Ensure trained labor

· Expand existing garbage disposal sites and add new ones



· Rehabilitate and enhance water infrastructure and reduce water wastage

· Stop pumping water unfairly from groundwater wells and compensate through existing dams as well as digging dams for new water

· Raise awareness of the need for rationalization of water use



Incentivize investors in the real estate sector to direct their investments towards Mafraq and Irbid to provide adequate housing by presenting the necessary facilities for the establishment of these projects in addition to possible exemptions



Develop a strategic plan for the Ministry of Education to limit the number of students and their distribution in the host communities, increase the number of schools and classrooms to accommodate them, and provide more teachers



· Direct capabilities and increase the number of health centers as well as expand existing hospitals

· Provide essential drugs and rebuild stocks

· Provide the necessary human resources



· Implement necessary legislation to meet the challenge of employing Syrian refugees at the expense of Jordanian labor

· Direct investments into these areas to increase the number of jobs generated thereby increasing the employment of Jordanians

· Encourage entrepreneurship through targeted projects and the provision of technical and financial support

· Develop and introduce small and medium enterprises and income-generating jobs suitable for the Jordanian population


Report Name



Analysis of Impact of Influx of Syrian Refugees on Host Communities


Not Relevant


Supporting Donor




Lead Ministry


Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation

Key Topics

Education – Employment – Energy – Healthcare – Housing – Solid Waste Management – Syrian Refugees – Water

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