Date: June 23, 2016
By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
AMMAN, JORDAN (ANS, June 23, 2016) -- The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was attacked two days ago by a suspected Islamic State suicide bomber who drove his car into an army checkpoint at the border with Syria, killing six people.
This follows an attack in Amman on June 6 which killed five people, including three Jordanian intelligence officers.
“The security situation is so bad the Government has temporarily closed the borders with Syria and Iraq,” reports Canon Andrew White, who is popularly known as “The Vicar of Baghdad.”
“This will not affect our aid operation in Jordan,” said White in an update from Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME). FRRME is a small UK-based charity working in some of the world’s most dangerous countries, facilitating the unique and important work of Canon Andrew White in Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. White is the founder and president of The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME). Before that, he was Chaplain of St George’s Church in Baghdad.
FRRME provides emergency relief to Christians and other persecuted minorities in Northern Iraq, as well thousands of Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan to escape the sectarian violence. In addition to spiritual support FRRME provides food, medicine and shelter. The agency works with partners on the ground, including churches, NGOs and the UN, to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable.
“In Jordan we are looking after 500 Iraqi refugee families. Currently, the Jordanian government does not permit refugees to work so we provide them with shelter, food (via a weekly voucher scheme), and free health care (including prescriptions). We have also set up a school in Marka, a suburb of Amman, which has 175 pupils, White said.
“However, we are mindful of the worsening security situation. The 500 families we are caring for in the country are Christian. Many of them fled Northern Iraq in the summer of 2014 following the annexation of their land by Islamic State. These recent attacks show how far the sectarian conflict in the Middle East has spread. The violence is once again at their door.”
He added: “The refugees in our care face an uncertain future but with your support we continue to provide shelter, weekly food packages, and free health care. In May, we provided 990 food packages to 4,500 refugees. We helped 70 refugee families with rent at a cost of 8,725 Jordanian Dinar (£8,385GBP / $12,314USD). We arranged 152 medical appointments and provided prescriptions for all those with long-term medical conditions.
“Having started from nothing, it was amazing to see our 167 refugee children graduate from our school in Marka (a suburb of Amman). Two years ago these children had nothing. Thanks to you they have just completed their first full year of schooling.”
The FRRME Team can be reached at www.frrme.org, or by writing to: Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 9DL, United Kingdom.
Photos:1) Map of Jordan (Courtesy FRRME). 2) Canon Andrew White, the "Vicar of Baghdad" (Courtesy FRRME). 3) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia.