Jordan, already straining from hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, is increasingly feeling the heat from its own citizens who are fed up with the growing influx.
Jordan says it is hosting more than 500,000 Syrian refugees and the authorities last week opened a new refugee camp in the Mrigeb al-Fuhud area east of the capital Amman as thousands continue to flee the war across the border.
The 13,000-acre (5,200-hectare) camp, built and run by the United Arab Emirates northeast of Amman, has 750 caravans, a hospital and a school and can accommodate 5,500 people.
The seven-million-dinar ($9.8-million, 7.5-million euro) facility was opened nine months after Jordan set up the sprawling Zaatari camp that houses 150,000 Syrian refugees outside the northeastern city of Mafraq.
Now Jordanians, who are already suffering from high unemployment, prices and inflation as well as poverty, accuse the refugees of taking their jobs and prompting greedy landlords to raise rents.
“More than 160,000 Syrians hold various jobs in Jordan, though most do not have work permits,” Hamda Abu Nejmeh, secretary general at the labor ministry, told AFP.
“It is a huge number that has a very negative impact.”
He said Syrians “are depriving Jordanians from having jobs. If this continues, unemployment will rise and our plans to help citizens work will be affected negatively.”
Abu Nejmeh said Syrians accept less than the monthly minimum wage of 190 dinars ($268, 203 euros) and work longer hours.
Unemployment is officially around 14 percent in the country of 6.8 million people, 70 percent of them under 30, but other estimates put the figure at 30 percent.
“Rents have doubled in the (northern) cities of Ramtha and Irbid. An apartment that is usually rented for 125 dinars a month now costs 250 dinars,” said Fathi Bashabsheh, who owns a housing complex in Ramtha where 35 Syrian families live.
“Around 130,000 people live in Ramtha now, including 40,000 Syrians. This is a problem for Ramtha residents who face many problems in finding jobs and renting houses and shops.”
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر