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Informal Settlements

Since the onset of the Syrian crisis, large numbers of Syrian refugees have settled on informal sites in Jordan. As the number of refugees continues to increase, and the capacity of Jordanian host communities is becoming over-stretched particularly in terms of housing, the number of informal settlements is increasing.Currently there is no comprehensive list of all informal settlements in Jordan.Further, the ‘informal’ nature of these settlements generally means that access to shelter, food, water, sanitation, health, education, and other essential services is not officially established. Falling outside the relief response currently targeting Syrian refugees staying in managed camps and with host communities, displaced households in informal settlementsare facing serious difficulties to access the protection and assistance they need.

With support from UNICEF, REACH conducted the first comprehensive assessment and mapping of Informal Tented Settlements (ITS) in the governorates of Mafraq, Irbid and Balqa, during November and December 2013. Through this assessment refugee householdsparticipated in structured interviews. For this purpose, REACH designed a comprehensive, multi-sectoral survey tool with the aim to developa baseline dataset on the welfare, needs, and vulnerabilities affecting displaced populations living in these settlements, and to inform sector-specific interventions, notably education, food security, health, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene. The assessment methodology also included a review of the minimal secondary data available and close collaboration with local stakeholders. The assessment report is available here.

In 2014, REACH continues its work on ITS with the aim to provide an accurate account of the number and population of informal settlements across Jordan on a rolling basis, including a comprehensive baseline set of indicators which will also be monitored on a regular basis, in order to inform priority humanitarian interventions and targeted aid programming for these communities. REACH reports and maps from assessments focused on informal settlements in Jordan will be regularly uploaded on the Resource Centre.


REACH is a joint initiative of two international non-governmental organisations, ACTED and IMPACT Initiatives,  and  the  United  Nations Operational  Satellite Applications  Programme (UNOSAT). REACH was created in 2010 to facilitate the development of information  tools and  products that  enhance the  capacity  of aid actors  to make  evidence-based decisions in emergency, recovery and development contexts.

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The Resource Centre was developed with the support of the
British Embassy in Amman (Foreign & Commonwealth Office).