New massive camp for refugees opens in Jordan

by Norwegian Refugee Council | Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Monday, 28 April 2014 16:44 GMT

Azraq refugee camp i Jordan. Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen

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NRC has received the first Syrian refugees in Azraq in Jordan, a site with the capacity to host up to 130,000 refugees.

Monday 28 April, the first family was welcomed into the transitional shelters built by the NRC in Azraq refugee camp. The family, consisting of one man and eight women, had been travelling for two days on foot fleeing the war in Syria before they arrived to Jordan.

Watch interview with Andrew Harper, Representative of UNHCR to Jordan and Robert Beer, NRC Jordan Country Director prior to the opening of Azraq refugee camp..

“We are very pleased to see that the camp has now opened. It provides sanctuary for the increasing number of refugees fleeing violence in Syria”, says NRC Jordan Country Director Robert Beer.

More than 230 refugees have arrived to the camp.

“One family was reunited in the camp, after having been separated for more than two years”, says Beer.

Jordan has received 590,000 refugees from Syria, most of them living in host communities, and around 100,000 living in Zaatari refugee camp, where the capacity has been stretched to the limits. The new site has a capacity to host up to 130,000 refugees and may become the world’s third largest refugee camp.

“Given the harsh climate of Azraq, shelters made of zinc and steel are being constructed to provide basic protection and safety from the elements. Materials are procured from Jordanian contractors, creating positive benefits for local businesses”, says Beer.

NRC has built 1750 such shelters in Azraq, and will continue to construct up to 40 new shelters a day, depending on the influx. The organization is also responsible for receiving the refugees who are arriving to the camp and distribute core relief items such as blankets, mattresses and cooking utensils. NRC will also operate learning and youth programmes in the camp to provide a sense of normalcy to Syrian children in safe environments.

“Azraq provides a capacity to the Jordanian government to keep the borders open which is crucial for the millions of people displaced inside Syria facing a violent threat on a daily basis”, says Beer.