Second camp for Syrian refugees opens in Jordan

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 10, 2013 at 8:34 am •  Published: April 10, 2013

Majed Sultan bin Sulieman, the society's relief director at the camp, said Mrajeeb al-Fhood will initially host 5,000 refugees but can be expanded to about 25,000 residents — all living in trailers.

Anmar Hmoud, a Jordanian government spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs, called Wednesday a "soft opening," adding that more Syrians would soon fill up the site.

Sulieman said the Emirati government will cover all the expenses of hosting the refugees at the camp, including food, clothing, basic goods and medical aid.

Dr. Mohamed al-Der'ee, the chief of an Emiriati clinic set up at the camp, says his team of more than two dozen doctors, nurses and lab technicians will handle pediatric, dental, pharmaceutical and internal medical care for the residents. The team also included Jordanian and Syrian health workers, said the U.S.-trained al-Der'ee.

Unlike Zataari, which now has over 100,000 Syrian refugees, the new camp is a small facility where the U.N. refugee agency's only role will be to register newcomers and provide protection activities to support the most vulnerable, according to Mathilde Tiberghien, a UNHCR official.

Zataari, overseen by the Jordanian government and UNHCR, has mushroomed into Jordan's fifth largest city and it has seen an increasing number of reports of crime, including prostitution and drug-dealing. Numerous riots among residents have also erupted over harsh desert and weather conditions.

Tiberghien said UNHCR will be using iris scans for the first time at the Emirati camp.

She added that UNHCR and Jordan are building a third camp, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) away but that finishing the facility is contingent on international funds, which have not yet come through.