U.N. to make first aid delivery in months to Syrian refugees on Jordan border
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By Lin Taylor
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - United Nations aid agencies will make their first deliveries of relief in two months to thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on Jordan's northeastern border with Syria, the world body said on Thursday.
More than 75,000 people, mostly women and children, have been stuck for months in makeshift camps in a no-man's land on the Syrian side of the border, after fleeing central and eastern Syria.
"These people are living in a very, very deplorable situation. They are living in makeshift tents that don't provide much safety," U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan, Edward Kallon, said in a telephone interview.
"It is quite desperate. These people are here for safety and security because it's no-man's land and they are not being bombed," he said referring to the desert region where temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) in the day.
International relief workers and refugees said in June they were running out of food after a militant suicide attack prompted the army to shut the area, allowing only water trucks to enter.
But after weeks of talks with the Jordanian army, Kallon said humanitarian aid should reach the community by Oct. 16.
"We are providing food, water, basic health, and non-food items which can include tents and clothing," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Kallon said he hoped the assistance will be "ongoing" and not a once-off delivery.
The U.N. World Food Programme, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration and Medecins San Frontieres will work together to distribute the aid, he added.
He said Syrian community leaders living in the region will help deliver the aid, which will be monitored by drones.
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women's rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)
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