VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Responding to the Syrian crisis: A new camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan
August 1, 2012 by Ned Colt
|Most Syrian refugee families like this one have found homes in apartments in Jordan, but with the recent surge in refugee arrivals, the Jordanian government opened its first tent camp on Sunday. Photo: Ned Colt/IRC|
AMMAN, Jordan -
As fighting continues to drive desperate Syrians into neighboring countries, the International Rescue Committee is looking into how we can help in the first refugee camp to be established for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
The Jordanian government has erected a camp of 3,000 tents in the desert outside the border city of Mafraq. The race to complete the camp was ramped up last week when the number of Syrians crossing the border surged to more than a thousand a day, following a spike in violence in the capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo.
The new camp is capable of expanding to house as many as 150,000 people. It is designed not only to cope with the increase in refugee arrivals, but also to reduce tensions at transit facilities in northern Jordan. Those facilities provide temporary housing as refugees undergo background checks and registration. Their capacity has recently been vastly exceeded, and refugees have protested deteriorating conditions.
Currently, the majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan stay in private apartments, but even that has been problematic, with pressure increasing on housing stock and a commensurate doubling in rental prices in the past year.
As the IRC explores how we can support health care and women's protection efforts in the new camp, we are also continuing our support of the tens of thousands of “urban refugees” living in apartments in Mafraq and two other border cities, Ramtha and Irbid.
Close to a thousand refugees have already availed themselves of two IRC primary care clinics opened in mid-June, and the IRC continues to distribute humanitarian assistance such as blankets, sleeping mats and hygiene supplies to new arrivals.
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