Japanese grant to help Jordan cope with Syria refugees

AMMAN - Japan granted Jordan on Sunday one billion yen (S$12.53 million) to minimise the impact of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria.

"The grant seeks to ease the burdens that Jordan shoulders in hosting the Syrian refugees," the planning ministry said in a statement.

"It comes as Jordan faces economic and social challenges due to the policial situation in the region," it quoted Planning Minister Ibrahim Saif as saying.

Saif added that the funds would be used to buy water and sewage tankers, as well as for waste management in communities hosting refugees.

Jordan has repeatedly called for more international aid to help it deal with the flood of refugees.

The kingdom is home to at least 500,000 Syrian refugees, including more than 100,000 in the northern Zaatari camp near the border.

It says the influx has placed a huge burden on already overstretched water and power supplies as well as housing and education, while unemployed Jordanians face tough competition from Syrians for jobs.

King Abdullah II said on Sunday the problem is depleting Jordan of its scarce natural resources, and called for international assistance to deal with the problem.

Between 2007 and 2012, Japan provided Jordan with more than $273 million to support development projects in the kingdom, according to the planning ministry.