Syria crisis response: Large refugee camp opens in Jordan

The government of Jordan, along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Vision and 19 other agencies, marked the official opening of the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan last month. Although the opening had been delayed several times, a decision was made to open the camp in stages, given that the flow of Syrian refugees has shown no signs of slowing. Za’atari camp, the largest official camp in Jordan, is approaching capacity.

World Vision has been one of the key implementers in the development of the Azraq camp (managed by the government and UNHCR), which will have an eventual capacity of up to 130,000 people.

To date, World Vision has focused on providing water, sanitation and hygiene services for up to 30,000 people at the camp. This includes:

– Installing 12.6 kilometres of pipelines and setting up 39 tap stands for residents to collect water for cooking, washing and sanitation. Refugees will be provided with 30 to 60 litres of water per day for personal use within a few hundred meters from where they are living.

– Constructing more than 2,000 latrines and washing spaces, with separate facilities for men and women. Each set of facilities will serve far fewer families than was necessary at Za’atari, to allow for greater privacy for refugees. Water conservation will be crucial to ensuring the camp’s sustainability, so World Vision staff will be working with refugees to promote water-saving and good hygiene.

– Building on the lessons learned from Za’taari camp, the Azraq facility has been designed to offer Syrian refugees a greater sense of community and a better quality of life. Refugees will live in specially designed T-shelters, rather than tents, and the camp itself will be made up of several “villages” rather than rows, each with its own police post, community centre and playground.

A hospital (not yet operational) and a supermarket where refugees can purchase supplies with World Food Program vouchers have also been established at the camp. Schools are operating and mosques are being built on site to meet the refugees’ spiritual needs.

Elsewhere in Jordan, World Vision’s response has grown significantly this year, now including child and adolescent friendly spaces; remedial education classes; water, sanitation and hygiene activities in host communities and Za’atari; and seasonal distributions. Approximately 80 percent of the refugees in Jordan are living in host communities. Unable to legally work, refugee parents are living off their savings, the generosity of family members or donations from aid agencies.

Response activities are continuing inside Syria and in Lebanon, with teams pursuing more funding to meet the growing needs of children.

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