Jordan to open third refugee camp next month

Published March 12th, 2014 - 08:02 GMT

Agence France Presse reported late Tuesday that the U.N. would "welcome" the opening of a third refugee camp in Jordan due to increasing numbers of Syrians entering into the Kingdom every day.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters that the refugee agency "welcomes a decision this week by the Jordanian government to open the country’s third refugee camp – Azraq – a few weeks from now, on April 30."

The new camp will be located approximately 100 kilometers east of Amman and it is hoped that the new site will "relieve" growing space pressure within Jordan's main refugee camp of Zaatari which is already at capacity.

Spikes in arriving refugees, coupled with the fact that less Syrians are returning home has put tremendous strains on Zaatari's resources which already hosts approximately 100,000 people.

 “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,” Edwards added.

The new camp is projected to eventually accommodate 130,000 refugees, but at first will only be able to provide for a small number--approximately housing 13,000--according to Edwards.

Nearly 585,000 Syrian refugees have registered with UNHCR in Jordan, according to the international agency's data figures, and only twenty percent of the Syrian population is living in the camps with the remaining 80 living in urban areas throughout the Kingdom.

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