Jordan opens new camp to host 130,000 Syrian refugees
The UN's refugee agency opened the camp to help ease the pressure of Syrian refugees entering Jordan (File/AFP)
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Jordan has opened a new refugee camp in an eastern desert to accommodate tens of thousands of people fleeing the violence in neighboring Syria.
Azraq camp, located 100 kilometers east of Jordan’s capital, Amman, was opened on Wednesday and is expected to host some 130,000 people.
"What you are seeing when you drive around is possibly one of the best planned refugee camps in the world and probably what will be one of the biggest refugee camps in the world," said the UN refugee agency’s Jordan representative Andrew Harper at the opening ceremony.
The camp has two schools and a hospital run by the Red Cross and a big supermarket that accepts the World Food Program’s vouchers.
The UN agencies began the construction of the camp last year when Jordan received 1,000 Syrian refugees a day, raising fears that the Arab country could not cope with the growing number of refugees.
At least 600,000 registered Syrian refugees live in Jordan, officials say that more than 1.3 million Syrians are in the kingdom and that only a fraction of them live in camps.
Za’atari refugee camp is another camp that hosts Syrian refugees in Jordan. It houses more than 100,000 Syrian refugees. Half of the refugees in the camp are children. The camp was first opened on July 28, 2012 to host Syrians fleeing the violence in Syria.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
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