Najlaa, humanitarian worker in Jordan – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. 

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Paul Cronin is a former British military officer who spent 20 years leading expeditionary operations in Africa, the Balkans, Middle East and Pacific before resigning his commission and moving into the humanitarian sector in 2012. He reached out to Najlaa who has worked in the humanitarian sector for years to support the unparalleled numbers of Iranian, Palestinian and most recently Syrian refugees who have sought refuge within the Kingdom of Jordan.

Here is Najlaa’s story:

“On the 17th March this year, the government of Jordan declared a state of national emergency through the activation of national defense laws, which was followed on the 20th of March by the setting of a country wide curfew.

Picture by Thomas Siems

“The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have reached absolutely everyone in Jordan, from local communities to the large Palestinian and Syrian refugee populations living in various camps such as Azraq and Zaatari.  The guidance from the government is similar to that in Europe and the result is closure of all but the most essential services, the banning of mass gatherings, in particular all religious services under the guidance of the both the Fatwa Council and the Council of Churches as a preventive measure.

A significant rise in issues such domestic violence, GBV and depression is a huge cause for concern”

“For everyone, staying at home 24/7 is challenging and frustrating, however here a significant rise in issues such domestic violence, GBV and depression is a huge cause for concern and is exacerbated by the widespread lack of essential supplies:  “Those who can, are looking after themselves,” said Ahmad, who fled from the Syrian city of Hama and now lives in Mafraq. “For the many that don’t have enough food, there is very little that can be done.” He added his own household had enough bread for three days, no vegetables but enough sundries to last a month.

“At this point there are no confirmed cases from any of the refugee camps (Azraq, Zaatari, EJC), however the camp populations have undoubtedly been affected by the as a significant number of humanitarian workers have been unable to access the settings since the pandemic was announced, which has resulted in a range of essential activities and services such as protection, GBV, SRHR and education being stopped indefinitely.

“For the many that don’t have enough food, there is very little that can be done”

“To their credit certain organisation are attempting to adapt methodology in order to implement activities remotely, however as these are strictly controlled by the authorities the effects are limited.”

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