In Jordan, Iraqis await medical aid

UN says it has suspended health care to 600 families due to funding shortfall.

    Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh visited Abu Othman, an Iraqi refugee in Jordan, who is appealing to humanitarian organisations to provide funding for his six-year-old son who has cancer and is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant.

    Due to a shortage in funding from international donors, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recently been forced to suspend the crucial tertiary health care it had once offered to chronically ill Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

    Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, more than two million Iraqis fled to neighbouring countries seeking refugees status and, in some cases, resettlement in Europe or North America.

    In Depth


    The Iraqi refugee crisis

    UNHCR underfunded

    The UN estimates there are 500,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Among them, some 600 cash-strapped Iraqi families have been relying on the UNHCR for medical aid.

    Imran Riza, the UNHCR representative in Jordan, told Al Jazeera that the agency has had to streamline and prioritise a lot of its programmes due to underfunding.

    "We were in a real bind a few months ago because indications of the funding we were getting were much less than what we needed, and especially in terms of providing tertiary health care to some vulnerable cases," Riza says.

    Abu Othman, who also lost two daughters during the war, has been told no funds are available for his son's surgery, which is estimated to cost $100,000.

    "I swear to God we are tired. We need a solution. We are tired of suffering," Abu Othman said.

    "This is my son's last chance."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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