Winter Storms Devastate Syrian Refugee Camps

Humanitarian Agency Concerned About Outlook for Displaced Living in Jordan

Amman, (Zenit.org) | 1471 hits

Winter weather have devastated a refugee camp in the Jordanian desert, where 50 thousand Syrian refugees are living.

Director of Caritas Jordan, Wael Suleiman, reported to Fides Agency: "The storms have destroyed at least 500 tents in the camp. In the middle of the desert, the refugees live in an untenable state. We have not yet reports of deaths, but certainly many will feel ill and will need to be treated. Some have decided to go back to Syria. They prefer the risks of a war-torn Country to the prospect of seeing their children die in a refugee camp."

Mud swept through tents hosting refugees – among them pregnant women and children – following three days of rain and snow.

Yesterday, frustrated refugees reportedly attacked UN personnel and local organizations involved in the management of the camp.

"The situation is explosive. We have been saying for a long time that the camp in Zaatari should be closed down. But the opening of a new facility in Zarqa area is postponed from time to time," said Suleiman.

In recent days, Caritas, which is not involved in the direct management of the camp in Zaatari, has been distributing blankets, stoves and hot food to 30 thousand displaced families. But the relief efforts carried out in Jordan appear in trouble in front of a humanitarian emergency that is expanding every day.

Director of Caritas Jordon told Fides: "If we talk to those of the government they tell us that the refugee problem is not their direct responsibility. If we go to UN officials they tell us that resources are limited and one cannot do much. Meanwhile, things are getting worse, and are threatening to destroy everything."

The Syrian expatriates in Jordan are more than 280 thousand. The camp of Zaatari is located in the Hashemite Kingdom, and is home to refugees who have fled Syria's 21 month long civil war. The United Nations last week estimated that at around 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.