Zaatari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan
11.00am | July 26, 2017
I'm in Jordan with Save the Children to see how international aid for refugees works on the ground. Today I visited the Zaatari Camp in the desert in northern Jordan which hosts about 80,000 Syrian Refugees. This Friday it will be 5 years since the camp has been established, and there is no sense that the crisis is close to resolution. Families have not given up hope that one day they might return home, but they are anxious about their futures.
More than 50% of all Syrian refugees are children. We visited programs that seek to keep children engaged in education, and support them and their families to resist harmful practices like child labour and child marriage (both of which are widespread). Australian aid organisations are doing an amazing job.
After the savage and unprecedented cuts when the Coalition came to power, Australian aid as a proportion of our national income is the lowest it has been for fifty years. Our aid budget for the Middle East and Africa has been cut by more than 80% since the Liberals won government. Whether you assess this ethically or pragmatically - this is a terrible mistake. We need a well funded aid budget support these children and their families.