Surviving yet another winter

Surviving yet another winter

Publication info


Refugee life in Jordan faces a myriad of problems, and almost every single one of these is exacerbated during the winter months from November till March. Life gets harder; both for those renting small apartments in the city and the even less fortunate in the refugee camps.

For 30 year old Salwa and her family this will be the second winter they have experienced in Jordan and for them the problems have already begun. “Now in the winter it rains a lot more,” says Salwa, “sometimes our apartment floods with the rains. The other day I was cooking with oil in a pan outside and it began to rain and it caused a big fire in the pan and my arm got burnt.”

The apartment they rent has rooms facing a courtyard, down a hill and the rooms often flood with heavy rainfall. This apartment was a good deal though and all they can afford so they do the best they can; like making sure never to leave one and a half year old Ahmad lying on the floor unattended in case of flash flooding.

Salwa moved from Azraq refugee camp after just one month. She was heavily pregnant at the time with Ahmad and was having complications. Her and her husband Ali decided to come to Amman city in search of better healthcare. She recalls the difficulties of this birth vividly; “I was bleeding from the nose and had seizures and I had to be hospitalised for three days.”

Now in Amman their living conditions, the apartment in particular, have become their biggest concern. Ali was a construction worker back in Syria and sometimes manages to pick up work a couple of days a week in Amman, but it is not enough to support the family, and if weather conditions are bad, as they increasingly are in winter then he can go whole weeks without working.

Salwa is very worried about how they will survive this winter. “We have no heater for the winter and it gets very cold,” she says. “We have to close the door and cover ourselves in blankets. It costs 80 JOD (US $113) to buy one and we prefer to buy bread, tea and vegetables instead.

Salwa and her family are one of many families receiving winterisation cash from CARE to help them survive the cold winters and manage the additional costs of trying to stay warm. Families receive 400 JOD (around US$ 565) to spend as they think best. “With the money we will get this year from CARE, we will use it to buy winter clothes and food,” says Salwa.