Jordan braces for Syrian refugee ‘crisis’

Syrian refugees in the northern city of Mafraq in December 2011 (Photo by Taylor Luck)

AMMAN/MAFRAQ — SOURCE: Jordan Times. by Taylor Luck

So far, NGOs offer bulk of services but say cannot sustain them
Officials are nearing the completion of Jordan’s first Syrian refugee camp as part of a series of preparations for what some describe as a brewing “humanitarian crisis” north of the Kingdom’s borders, according to an official source.

The Ministry of Public Works and Housing has completed the Kingdom’s first refugee camp in Ribaa Sarhan, 14km northwest of Mafraq, as part of an unofficial government acknowledgement that as violence continues in Syria, Jordan may be faced with yet its latest refugee crisis.

“We have not reached emergency levels yet, but there are signs that if the situation does not improve in Syria soon, we may see refugees in the tens of thousands,” said a government source.

“This camp in many ways is our first line of defence.”

The camp, with a 100-family capacity, comes as the latest of a “series of measures”, including a recent decision accepting Syrian students at the Kingdom’s public schools, to prepare for a sudden influx of Syrian refugees.

The Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO), the charitable arm of the government which has been recently tasked to lead Jordan’s humanitarian response efforts, along with the Kitab and Sunna Society, are currently finalising preparations for two more camps in the northern region, each with a 1,000-family capacity.

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