Saturday, 18 September 2021 07:56 GMT

Jordan preparing second Syrian refugee camp


(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Preparations are under way to establish Jordan's second Syrian refugee camp, relief officials say, in order to cope with a refugee influx averaging some 500 persons per day. According to the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO), officials are planning to convert a previously unused camp in the Ribaa Sirhan area near the northern border into an emergency "overflow camp" amid a refugee influx that has reached as high as 1,000 new arrivals per day. "In light of a potential humanitarian crisis, we have taken the decision to prepare a second camp," said JHCO Secretary General Ayman Mufleh. The facility, to be funded by an anonymous donor through the Amman-based Al Kitab and Sunna Society, will be equipped with some 100 furnished trailers to house up to 600 persons, according to Mufleh. The agreement comes as the UN nears the completion of the Kingdom's first refugee camp in the Zaatari area, north of the border city of Mafraq, a tented facility designed to house up to 10,000 refugees. According to the JHCO and the UN Refugee Agency, relief agencies are finalising the installation of electricity and water utilities in order to prepare the camp to receive refugees as early as the end of the week. Jordan has long resisted opening Syrian refugee camps, choosing instead to open a series of so-called "transit facilities", guarded residential complexes to house new arrivals as they undergo security background checks. A Syrian refugee exodus into Jordan sparked by fresh fighting in Daraa earlier this month has led to severe overcrowding at the transit facilities, with some holding centres holding up to five times their normal capacity in "unacceptable" conditions. The ongoing refugee influx forced Amman earlier this month to lift its reservations over the establishment of refugee camps, with authorities granting the UN authority to open "multiple camps" in the border region. Under its decision, which also granted authority to the International Organisation of Migration to establish separate camps for non-Syrian national displaced by the conflict, the government tasked the JHCO to administer the facilities. The camps come as a bid to alleviate the stress the 140,000-strong refugee population is placing on the Kingdom's limited resources, with the presence of thousands of Syrians leading to housing shortages, a spike in water demand and rising food prices in the northern region. Despite the added burden, Jordan is continuing its open-border policy, granting refuge and access to public healthcare and educational services to all Syrians entering the country.


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