Jordan is willing to allow aid to be dropped by crane to thousands of refugees stranded at the border of Syria and Jordan, government spokesperson Mohammed Momani announced Monday. International aid organizations have been battling with Jordan while attempting to help those displaced after the kingdom sealed its border with Syria in June when an attack claimed by Islamic extremists killed seven Jordanian security force members.
The 75,000 Syrian refugees stuck at the border live in makeshift tent camps and lack access to food, water and medicine, according to the Associated Press. The displaced group was attempting to flee war-torn Syria when Jordan sealed its borders in June, effectively slamming the exit door. As many as 8,295 camps exist in the area, Amnesty International reported. Reports from the camps tell of spreading diseases like whooping cough and hepatitis.
"The situation at the berm offers a grim snapshot of the consequences of the world's abject failure to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis," Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International said in a statement describing the embankment where the camps are located. "People are suffering or even dying from preventable diseases, simply because they are not allowed into Jordan and the authorities have blocked access for aid, medical treatment, and a meaningful humanitarian response."
While the border remains sealed, Jordan's new agreement to drop aid into the camps is a shift away from the kingdom's previous stance on the matter. International aid agencies have been pressuring Jordan to help the stranded, while Jordan has said it has done more than enough and the international community should now step up.
Jordan is willing to allow the aid to be distributed but it will be up to agencies to determine the pace. The deliveries will be given to community leaders of Syrian groups to distribute as they see fit. Two aid officials said nothing has been finalized and talks are ongoing, the Associated Press reported.
Previously, UN agencies have proposed setting up an aid distribution center three to four miles west of the largest camp. However, that was no longer being considered.