In a secure location in Jordan, Baptist relief workers are able to assist in basic healthcare assessment for Iraqi refugees and others who are unable to afford even limited access to prescription drugs and other life-sustaining measures. Here a young Iraqi girl listens to her heartbeat while her mother and the relief worker look on. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
JORDAN (BP)--Baptist relief workers from Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia and North Carolina, in Jordan to provide assistance to Iraqi refuges, began visiting in homes Sept. 7 and joined in a healthcare effort Sept. 9.
The workers originally were scheduled to go into Baghdad, Iraq, to begin delivery of 46,000 food boxes collected by Southern Baptists for needy families there. When security concerns diverted the team from Iraq to Jordan, Baptist workers in Jordan tried to arrange for a portion of the boxes to be delivered to some of the estimated 500,000 Iraqi refugees living there.
|Mom and happy baby blue|
A mother and her two children smile for the camera at the Islamic Women's Center in Al Hashmi Ashmali, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Amman, Jordan. Baptist relief workers handed out diapers, baby formula and other items Sept. 7 after the workers were diverted from Iraq to Jordan because of recent security concerns. Photo Joni B. Hannigan
Difficulties with the between-country administrative red tape involved in redirecting the boxes, compounded by the closure of ports in the Middle East during the soaring temperatures in August prevented the team from being able to deliver any of those boxes to refugees in Jordan.
Sept. 7, the relief workers were able to visit some refugee homes, giving a limited amount of baby supplies and other assorted items they had either brought with them from the U.S. or purchased locally for the families. The workers also provided a nominal sum of money to the refugees for rent.
In one home, Daoud* said his family of four fled Iraq in 1999 after he began to fear for their safety. He has a sister who lives in the United States and has been offered work there. A taxi driver by trade, Daoud said he cannot work in Jordan where a legitimate visa typically expires after three months. Instead, he relies on his sister's family to send him money for rent and food until he obtains a visa to be able to live and work near them in America.