UN says 'timely' that Jordan opening new Syria camp in April



GENEVA- The opening of a third refugee camp in Jordan next month is "timely" as the number of Syrians crossing the border has swelled to around 600 a day, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday.
The UNHCR said in Geneva it "welcomes a decision this week by the Jordanian government to open the country's third refugee camp -- Azraq -- in a few weeks from now, on 30 April."



The camp, located some 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Amman, will help take some of the pressure off Jordan's main Zaatari camp, which is bursting at the seams, it said.
"The opening will be timely as the past weeks have seen the numbers of people crossing the border increasing by 50 percent to an average of approximately 600 daily," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.
He said the hike in arrivals, combined with fewer refugees opting to return to Syria, was "putting strains on Zaatari", which is currently hosting some 100,000 refugees.
The new camp will initially house a relatively small number of refugees, but will eventually be able to accommodate up to 130,000 people, Edwards said.
The camp, which will be able to receive up to 2,000 refugees each day, has already been equipped with shelters to house 13,000 people and enough bathrooms and other sanitation facilities to service 30,000 people, he said.
More than 100 kilometres of roads had been built, as had a water distribution system, two schools and a secondary-level 130-bed hospital, he said.
A much smaller camp is Mureijeb Fhud, which houses nearly 4,000 refugees.
Jordan currently counts nearly 585,000 registered Syrian refugees, according to UNHCR numbers.
Only 20 percent of them live in camps, while the remaining 80 percent live in urban areas throughout the country, the UN agency said.
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Wednesday, March 12th 2014
AFP
           


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