WORLD NEWS

UN urges Jordan to open camp for Syrian refugees

Jul 3, 2012, 3:26 PM

Associated Press

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Jordan must open a refugee camp for thousands of Syrians fleeing the fighting in their country, a U.N. official said Tuesday, just hours after another 1,000 crossed the border.

The appeal from Andrew Harper, the U.N. refugee agency’s representative to Jordan, came during a sudden spike in numbers, adding to 140,000 Syrians already in the country.

For now, though, a new camp remains unused because of Jordan’s desire not to anger its powerful Syrian neighbors.

“We will have to do something pretty soon, because we’ve had 1,000 people arrive (Monday) night,” Harper said in a telephone interview. “Over the past four days, the numbers have doubled every night.”

He said most are fleeing violence in and around the northern city of Homs, and from Daraa just across the border. Refugees report Syrian troop movements around Daraa and fear a military offensive is about to begin.

Both the U.N. and Jordan’s Interior Ministry estimate an average of 400 Syrians were crossing into Jordan daily before the sudden surge.

Harper said a camp must be built to accommodate recent arrivals because of overcrowding at the government’s Bashabsheh holding facility. More than 2,000 Syrians are being housed there while their information is being processed.

“We are looking to reduce the numbers at Bashabsheh and spread the current population to other sites,” Harper said.

“We’re also looking at a longer term facility that can accommodate many more people, because it doesn’t make sense to have a whole range of smaller sites. We need to be looking at something which is much larger and can accommodate many more people,” he said.

Jordanian government officials had no immediate comment.

Jordan has not opened a refugee camp it built this spring in the hamlet of Ribaa Sarhan, near its border with Syria. It could house 1,000 Syrian families.

Although the 30,000 square meter (36,000 square yard) area has been paved, and electricity and water facilities have been installed, it has not been used.

Government secrecy has limited information on the camp to avoid angering Damascus and dragging Jordan into the conflict. Syria is one of Jordan’s largest Arab trade partners, with bilateral trade estimated at $470 million last year. Also, 60 percent of Jordanian exports of mainly fruits and vegetables are routed through Syria for onward shipping to Turkey overland or to Europe.

The refugees fleeing the fighting receive aid from friends, relatives and the Jordanian government.

Syrian refugee families often share rooms in apartments or stay in houses with family or friends, mainly in the northern towns of Ramtha, Mafraq and Irbid along the frontier.

They receive medical and educational assistance from the Jordanian government, as well as aid from private groups and the U.N.’s refugee agency.

The U.N. has urged the international community to boost financial support to countries like Jordan that host the refugees. The U.N. has set the goal for contributions at $192 million.

Jordan hosted about 1.5 million Iraqis during the height of the violence there in 2003-2008. The refugees were a huge drain on the country’s resources, and hundreds of thousands remain in the resource-poor kingdom.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

A jet takes flight from Sky Harbor International Airport as the sun sets over downtown Phoenix, Ari...

Associated Press

Climate change has made heat waves last longer since 1979, according to study

A new study says climate change is making giant heat waves crawl slower across the globe with higher temperatures over larger areas.

24 days ago

FILE - Kate, Princess of Wales and Prince William travel in a coach following the coronation ceremo...

Associated Press

Kate and William ‘extremely moved’ by support since the Princess of Wales’ cancer revelation

Kate, the Princess of Wales, and her husband, Prince William, are said to be “extremely moved” by the public’s warmth and support following her shocking cancer announcement

29 days ago

Kate, Princess of Wales, is seen visiting to Sebby's Corner in north London, on Friday, Nov. 24, 20...

Associated Press

Kate, Princess of Wales, says she is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer

Kate, the Princess of Wales, said Friday in a video announcement she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.

1 month ago

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen visiting the SKA Arena sports and concert complex in St. P...

Associated Press

Putin extends rule in preordained Russian election after harshest crackdown since Soviet era

President Vladimir Putin sealed his control over Russia for six more years on Monday with a highly orchestrated landslide election win.

1 month ago

President Joe Biden walks towards members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn...

Associated Press

U.S. military airdrops thousands of meals over Gaza, many more airdrops expected

U.S. military C-130 cargo planes dropped food in pallets over Gaza on Saturday in the opening stage of an emergency humanitarian assistance.

2 months ago

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who reportedly died in prison on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Alexei Navalny, galvanizing opposition leader and Putin’s fiercest foe, died in prison, Russia says

Alexei Navalny, the fiercest foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died Friday while incarcerated, the country's prison agency said.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

UN urges Jordan to open camp for Syrian refugees