The authorities in Jordan, already home to more than 85,000 registered refugees from the raging conflict in Syria, plan to set up a new refugee camp west of the capital, an official said on Sunday.
"The Jordanian government has chosen the Mrigeb al-Fuhud region 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Amman and 20 kilometres west of Zarqa, to establish another refugee camp for Syrians," a government spokesman told AFP. "The camp will have a surface area of 13,000 acres (5,200 hectares)," said Anmar al-Hammoud, who is responsible for refugee issues.
"If the number of occupants in the Zaatari camp gets more than 45,000, we will build this new camp to cope with the increasing number of refugees and to relieve congestion in Zaatari," Hammoud said.
UN figures show that more than 85,000 refugees are registered in Jordan, with another 36,000 awaiting processing. More than 30,000 refugees are staying in the UN-run Zaatari camp, according to official figures. Zaatari is in Mafraq province 85 kilometres north of Amman, not far from the border with Syria.
Since it opened in July, it has seen protests in August and also earlier this month by refugees who set fire to tents and destroyed property in protest at poor living conditions including a lack of electricity.
Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh has said upwards of 200,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into Jordan since the uprising erupted in mid-March last year. Some are in temporary accommodation in the north near the border. Hundreds of people enter the kingdom daily from Syria, crossing illegally to flee a conflict that has killed at least 33,000 people over the past 19 months.