‘Dramatic’ inflow of Syrian refugees swamp camps in Jordan

Sunday, January 27, 2013
UNHCR's Chief Spokesperson Melissa Fleming briefing reporters in Geneva
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Geneva: The UN refugee agency has announced that it is setting up a second refugee camp in Jordan to accommodate an "absolutely dramatic" inflow of refugees from Syria.

Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing in Geneva that Jordan has experienced a record number of refugee arrivals, with more than 30,000 arriving at Za' atri camp since the beginning of the year.

This compares to some 16,400 in December, 13,000 in November and 10,000 in October. Fleming said over 4,400 Syrian refugees had arrived in Za'atri camp on Thursday, and a further two thousand had arrived during the course of the night. 

"It is just absolutely dramatic the inflow of people that continues into Jordan," she said.

Many refugees originate from the city of Dara'a and its suburbs, along with Al-Yadoudeh, Al-Harak, Enkhel, Allajah, Ataman, Dael, Busr Al-Hareer, Al-Shajarah and Sayda. They are mainly families, female-headed households and older people.

UNHCR is working with the government of Jordan and partners to prepare a second major camp close to Za'atri, which will be known as Halabat camp.

"We hope to open it by the end of the month. Up to 5,000 people will be accommodated initially in the camp, with a plan to increase the capacity to 30,000 people," UNHCR's Fleming said.

UNHCR staff at Za'atari are working day and night to respond to the new arrivals and the growing needs of the refugees in the camp. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of tents are being delivered by truck to the warehouses in Za'atari.

On Thursday, 31 trucks delivered tents and essential relief items during the course of the day, with hundreds of deliveries planned in the coming days. UNHCR and its partners are also increasing the staffing in the camp to cope with the high rate of new arrivals. The refugee agency estimates that the population of Za'atari currently stands at over 65,000 people. -UNifeed
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