World

Cash-strapped World Food Program cuts in half aid to 440,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan

  • In this Saturday, July 25, 2015 photo, a Syrian refugee girl fills water from a tanker to her tent at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Aid agencies asked for $4.5 billion for 2015 to help refugees, but have been forced to slash support programs because of large funding gaps. That’s had a devastating effect on the amount of food aid coming. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

    In this Saturday, July 25, 2015 photo, a Syrian refugee girl fills water from a tanker to her tent at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Aid agencies asked for $4.5 billion for 2015 to help refugees, but have been forced to slash support programs because of large funding gaps. That’s had a devastating effect on the amount of food aid coming. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sunday, July 26, 2015 photo, Syrian refugee Wazeera Elaiwi, 29, breast-feeds her newly born son Mohammed, 43 days, inside her tent at an informal settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Aid agencies asked for $4.5 billion for 2015 to help refugees, but have been forced to slash support programs because of large funding gaps. That’s had a devastating effect on the amount of food aid coming. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

    In this Sunday, July 26, 2015 photo, Syrian refugee Wazeera Elaiwi, 29, breast-feeds her newly born son Mohammed, 43 days, inside her tent at an informal settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Aid agencies asked for $4.5 billion for 2015 to help refugees, but have been forced to slash support programs because of large funding gaps. That’s had a devastating effect on the amount of food aid coming. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)  (The Associated Press)

The cash-strapped World Food Program has cut in half food aid to most Syrian refugees in Jordan and says only a last-minute U.S. donation prevented the program from being scrapped.

Friday's announcement raises new concerns about more than half a million refugees who live in Jordanian communities rather than camps. Largely unable to work legally, most urban refugees live in poverty and rely on food vouchers for survival.

Jordan hosts 629,000 Syrian refugees, including about 100,000 in refugee camps.

Of the remaining urban refugees, 440,000 have been receiving food vouchers.

In August, support for the most vulnerable among them, or about 200,000 people, will drop from $28 to $14 per person per month and for the rest from $14 to $7.

The WFP says funding is not secured beyond August.