The WHO and the U.S. have responded to the Jordanian government’s request for help with sanitation and water issues in refugee camps.
“We’re trying to make sure the water being used for bath, food preparation, etc. is clean to start off with,” said Wesley Hadden, Jordan’s minister of internal services.
As of February 25, “We have 577,782 refugees,” said Hadden. “It was 577,786, but we’ve had four deaths.”
The World Health Organization has recently sent out research teams to investigate these four deaths. “The first two were children, ages 7 and 8,” Hadden said.
The WHO has also sent blankets, coats and other winter supplies, and continues to maintain their normal facilities already present in the camps. “Our focus is saving as many lives as possible,” said Bryon Ellis, media relations officer for the organization.
Jordan has also reached out to the U.S., who has sent a CDC field team to the area. “They both [the WHO and CDC] bring a lot of expertise,” Hadden said.
“[The CDC] is developing a response plan, should anything happen to result in the widespread of disease,” Hadden said. “They’re helping with the preventative side.”
“We’re working closely with officials on the ground to get a handle on the situation,” said Kate Miller, the U.S. ambassador.
The U.S. has also approved a $3 million package, to be split between Jordan and Lebanon. “We’re targeting inoculation campaigns,” Miller said. “But, we also want to improve water sanitation facilities.”
While the package targets polio and whopping cough, it can be used as needed to prevent the spread of disease.
The Red Cross/Red Crescent has also offered their assistance. They are “helping out with education in camps,” Hadden said, teaching refugees proper house cleaning and food preparation techniques.
Jordanian officials are currently working to utilize the large population of male refugees in the country. “They’re not employed,” Hadden said. “We’re giving them some funding to combat possibility of illegal activities.”
As the female refugees are taking care of the children, “the men will be in charge of field sanitation, trash removal and digging trenches to make sure we don’t contaminate the water source,” said Hadden.
“It curbs criminal activity,” Hadden said. “We’re taking care of two birds with one stone.”