Hartha sits just across the border from Syria, in northern Jordan, but seems to exist in a different world than the violent conflict raging just miles away. The town and surrounding villages are marked by quiet olive groves and rolling hills scattered with Byzantine ruins.
About 1,000 Syrian families who escaped to Jordan have moved to this area — just one pocket of refugees who have chosen to live outside camps. More then 70% of the refugee population lives in host communities in Jordan and other neighboring countries like Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
They want to be near family or believe they can find jobs and better living conditions outside the refugee camps. But they cannot legally work, shelters are inadequate, and kids are often turned away from overcrowded schools.
And worse, they are far from assistance provided in the camps by the government and humanitarian organizations — which itself is at a breaking point, strained by the overwhelming tide of refugees who continue to stream across the border to escape the escalating war.
The need is staggering. Last week, the UN released its largest ever appeal, asking for $5 billion in humanitarian aid to help the millions affected by the Syria crisis, both inside and outside the country.
These are a few of the thousands of families we've been able to reach in northern Jordan, improving their shelters and providing them with blankets, mattresses, heaters and other household supplies. There are many more like them who need our help.
How you can help
Follow the latest updates on Mercy Corps' response to the Syrian refugee crisis and share stories to raise awareness and support.
Donate today. You can make a difference for Syrian refugees. Your gift to our Humanitarian Response Fund will help us deliver clean water, distribute desperately-needed supplies and help children heal from the trauma of this crisis and others around the world.