“Nobody cares about refugees from Gaza”

Noora Nadi, 40, a Palestinian refugee living in Baqaa camp, 20 km west of Amman. (Maria Font de Matas/IRIN)

Widow Noora Nadi, 40, a Palestinian refugee living in Baqaa camp, 20 km west of Amman, is struggling to make ends meet to support her three children after her husband died two years ago.

She spoke to IRIN about her calamity and the bleak future she foresees.

“I have been struggling to feed my family since my husband died. UNRWA [United Nations Agency for Relief and Work for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] does not provide me with financial assistance and officials from the Jordanian government say I do not qualify for social aid like many widows in this country because I do not have Jordanian nationality.

I am paying the price of my parent’s decision to come to Jordan after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Refugees who came to the country after that date were given temporary passports but not Jordanian nationality, contrary to those who arrived in Jordan after [the Arab-Israeli conflict in] 1948. The latter can work everywhere and enter government-run universities, but we are treated like foreigners.

My 22-year-old son is not allowed to work in the government because he is not considered Jordanian, although he was born here.

I work in nearby farms picking fruits and taking care of animals from early morning to sunset. My mother is sick and too old to take care of herself.

I do not know what is going to happen to my family if I become ill. Nobody seems to care about refugees from Gaza. I asked the Palestinian embassy to help me go to Gaza, where most of my family lives, but they dismissed me saying an agreement with Israel means I cannot go until a permanent solution to the refugees problem is found.

In Jordan, I am treated as if I were a rich tourist. I am not allowed to go to a government-run hospital for free treatment, while waiting lists at the UNRWA clinics are very long. I am afraid if one of my kids falls ill I will have to sell my furniture to provide medication.

Winter has now arrived. When it rains, the ceiling leaks on our heads. I do not have the money to fix it. Moreover, I cannot afford fuel to fill my heater and my children do not have enough clothes to warm themselves.

I am still a refugee who lost everything: my home country, my husband and now I am afraid I will also lose my children. The UN must live up to its responsibility and provide me with help. If not, Jordan must step in and do something to allow my son to work.”

This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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