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UN Humanitarian Briefing on Iraq

UN Humanitarian Briefing on Iraq

21 March 2003
  • The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) office in Amman today gave more than $74,000 to the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) for preparations at the Ruwaished camp and the Al Karama border area. JHCO has been designated by the government as responsible for the management and administration at the Ruwaished camp, in coordination with UNHCR.
  • This brings to more than $1.2 million the aid provided by UNHCR to the Jordanian government and various relief agencies to help Jordan prepare for the possible arrival of up to 10,000 refugees in an initial period.
  • UNHCR teams at the Al Karama border do not report the arrival of any refugees at the Jordanian frontier. Today, the border is very quiet, according to our staff, with almost no overland traffic. Our staff at Al Karama said that there are unconfirmed reports of fighting or the destruction of a bridge approximately 160 km east of the frontier. If this report is true, people could be prevented from moving westwards.
  • There are a few families of mixed nationality at Al Karama. These people are vastly outnumbered by the news media, and we're in contact with the Jordanian authorities to allow them across.
  • Similarly across the region, there are no reports of refugee movements across any frontiers. There was a report carried by an Iranian news agency late Thursday about some refugee movements. We checked out this Iranian report yesterday and again this morning, It is unfounded.
  • It is vitally important in the event of any refugee movements that countries keep their borders open.