Jordan opens second camp for Syria refugees

AFP , Wednesday 10 Apr 2013

Amman announces the opening of a second camp to cope with the growing number of Syrian refugees in the country

Jordan opened a second camp for Syrian refugees on Wednesday after the United Nations said the number seeking shelter in the kingdom is expected to triple by the end of the year.

A first group of 106 refugees, who were among 1,306 who crossed the border during the night, were moved to the new Mrigeb al-Fuhud camp, government spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs, Anmar Hmud, told AFP.

The 13,000-acre (5,200-hectare) camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Amman, has 750 caravans, a hospital and a school and can take up to 5,500 people.

The seven-million-dinar ($9.8-million) camp was paid for by the United Arab Emirates.

"It will mainly receive widows, orphans and families who do not have single men," Hmud said. "There are plans to expand the camp to house 30,000 people."

Jordan opened a first camp at Zaatari in the desert north of the kingdom in July last year. It now houses more than 150,000 Syrian refugees.

The UN estimates that around 385,500 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan, including nearly a quarter of a million children.

A UN spokeswoman said last week that UN agencies expect the number to surge to around 1.2 million by December -- equivalent to about one-fifth of Jordan's total population.

The UN children's agency UNICEF, which provides safe water, sanitation, vaccines and education in the Zaatari camp, says it is facing a massive funding shortfall which may force it to cut back on desperately needed services.

The agency says it has received just $12 million of the $57 million it had appealed for to fund its Jordan operations this year.

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