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Campaign Stories
  Acting on Pope Francis' call for inter-religious cooperation in the Middle East
  Lebanon: before and after displacement, through a Syrian refugee child's eyes
  Dialogue is the Solution in Syria, not War
  Displaced by conflict in Syria, refugee helps others
  Examining the role of women from a humanitarian perspective in response to the conflict in Syria
  Families flee Syria to protect their children
  In Syria conflict, persecution affects Muslims and Christians
  Jesuit priest: people of Homs hunger for normality
  Jesuit Refugee Service stands with Syria
  Jesuit Refugee Service Syria staff stand together in serving the displaced
  Jordan: accompaniment comes first for refugees
  Jordan: eat dust here or die in Syria
  Jordan: living in the shadow of Syria's crisis
  JRS in Iraq as winter imperils displaced families
  JRS Jordan director visits U.S. universities, parishes
  JRS urges Australia, U.S. to increase humanitarian intake
  Lebanon: educational boost for refugee children
  Lebanon: families from Syria seek safety, shelter
  Lebanon: JRS offers hope through education
  Lebanon: space for refugees from Syria to learn
  Lebanon: Syrian children need more than a traditional education
  Lebanon: Syrian refugee children counting on school
  Middle East: updates from JRS
  On the Anniversary of the War in Syria, JRS Calls for Renewed Attention
  Pope urges concrete help for refugees
  Syria: between fear of violence and the struggle to survive
  Syria: bringing families together
  Syria: daily life a struggle to survive
  Syria: amidst upheaval, JRS expands services
  Syria: enduring spirit remains despite the rubble
  Syria: five years on, time for diplomacy to deliver
  Syria: food & fuel shortages add to daily woes
  Syria: interfaith family volunteers in Aleppo
  Syria: JRS refugee center destroyed, our work continues
  Syria: let this fourth anniversary of the war be the last
  Syria: maintaining normalcy in Aleppo
  Syria: Refugees from Iraq on the sidelines of yet another conflict
  Syria: Restoring hope
  Syria: shelter and food difficult to find
  Syria: thousands more displaced by violence in Aleppo
  Syria: turning pain into their most powerful weapon
  Syria: urgent need for winter supplies
  Syria: violence in Damascus fuels hopelessness, fear
  Syria: When Hope Returns – Rama’s Story
  Syria: why people flee and why they need protection
  Water is a precious gift in Syria
  Witnessing the hope and resilience of Syrians
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With little money for rent or food, Syrian refugees in the Middle East often face hard choices about their children's education. (Dominik Asbach — Jesuit Refugee Service)

(Rome) July 15, 2015 — Planned cuts to food aid for refugees in the Middle East will harm families who are already living on the edge, warns Jesuit Refugee Service. The World Food Programme (WFP) recently announced that in August, due to lack of funding, they will no longer provide food aid to many Syrian refugees living in Jordan. WFP has also had to reduce the value of food vouchers given to Syrian refugees in nearby Lebanon. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled war-torn Syria for neighboring Middle Eastern countries. In Jordan, almost half a million Syrian refugees live in cities and towns rather than in the country's official refugee camps. With support from international donors, WFP was previously able to give food aid to 440,000 Syrian urban refugees in Jordan, but that funding has run out. Refugees who need food assistance may face a situation where they must relocate to the camps. 

"Cutting food aid could force urban refugees to make some terrible choices, like sacrificing crucial medication or putting young children to work instead of sending them to school this fall," said , JRS International Director Peter Balleis S.J. "We implore the international community not to forget these vulnerable people." 

"The situation of the urban refugees is critical," said Fr. Bernard Hyacinth Arputhasamy S.J., Director of JRS Jordan. "Resources and services outside the refugee camps have been exhausted." JRS Jordan teams have talked to refugees who scour the trash for food and suffer from dizziness due to hunger. 

JRS Jordan currently provides cash assistance to the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in the country. JRS teams visit refugees' homes to listen to families and understand what they need most. Families use the JRS cash grant for rent, food, health care or other urgent priorities. In Lebanon, JRS provides food baskets, runs education projects, and offers other services to Syrian refugees. Experts fear that without food aid, refugees might go deeper into debt, take on more high-risk jobs, or turn to begging. 

JRS Jordan hopes to expand its work in Jordan to meet the growing needs of out-of-camp refugees, most of whom are not legally allowed to work in their host country. JRS serves Sudanese, Somali, and Iraqi refugees as well as the huge Syrian population.  

"JRS calls for governments to provide immediate short-term funding so that WFP will not have to withdraw this crucial aid," said Fr Balleis. "And we ask governments to work together to find a longer-term solution that will not let Syrian refugees go hungry." 

"This food cut is the latest chapter in the ongoing plight of urban refugees," says Fr Arputhasamy. "They are being pushed further into frustration and despair." 

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