Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on Jordanian border
Around 12,000 people who have fled the war in Syria are stranded at the Jordanian border, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said, urging authorities to allow them into the country.
The most vulnerable among the displaced, including the elderly, babies under six months and pregnant women, should have entry prioritised, said the UNHCR, as it warned of "deteriorating humanitarian conditions".
A statement said 11,000 refugees were in Rukban, about eight kilometres from the point where the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders meet. The remaining 1,000 were in Hadalat, about 90 kilometres further west.
|The health situation is deteriorating, with increasing signs of diarrhoea, vomiting and acute malnutrition among children|
The areas are in a rocky desert area, devoid of shade, water or vegetation, the statement said.
"The health situation is deteriorating, with increasing signs of diarrhoea, vomiting and acute malnutrition among children," it added.
"If refugees are not admitted to Jordan and substantial assistance not provided, the lives of refugees will be at risk in the coming winter."
Human Rights Watch reported that aid workers say they do not have enough resources to assist the growing numbers of people at the border, and that unless Jordan allows them to move to transit sites, 20,000 people will be stuck in the border area by the end of the year.
The UNHCR noted Jordan's "tremendous contribution" in hosting more than 630,000 refugees. It also highlighted the heavy strain that has put on the country's infrastructure and economy, as well as security concerns.
Amman says the actual number is 1.4 million, equivalent to 20 percent of the small kingdom's population.