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UNHCR takes Prince Charles round Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

News Stories, 13 March 2013

© UNHCR photo
Britain's Prince Charles is briefed by UNHCR's Paul Stromberg during the tour today of the King Abdullah Park camp.

AMMAN, Jordan, March 13 (UNHCR) Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, on Wednesday hailed the work of UNHCR and its partners in helping tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan during a landmark visit to a camp near the border with Syria.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, paid an hour-long visit to the small King Abdullah Park camp in a bid to highlight the human cost of the crisis in Syria, which has forced more than 1.1 million people to flee the country over the past two years, with about one third of them in Jordan.

"It's remarkable what UNHCR and others are doing to try and deal with this unbelievably difficult and heart-breaking situation," Prince Charles said after touring the camp's health clinic and aid distribution points as guests of UNHCR. Established in June last year, the site hosts around 1,000 Syrian refugees in pre-fabricated shelters.

The Prince of Wales also expressed "enormous respect for what Jordan and the humanitarian community have done for refugees … The Jordanian people are truly remarkable in what they manage to cope with."

He described the inflow as "a desperate situation" for Jordan. "If you think about it, it's the equivalent of the UK having 7 million people descend on them."

The royal couple, who were accompanied by Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad, also examined the pre-fabricated shelters provided by UNHCR to Syrian refugees and called on one family. The father, 55-year-old Musa, told Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall that he decided to flee Syria with his wife and five children last September after he was arrested and tortured.

Prince Charles also talked to staff from UNHCR, which organized the visit to the camp. "We are grateful for their support and for the assistance of the United Kingdom to the Syrian refugee crisis," said Paul Stromberg, UNHCR's deputy representative in Jordan. "Today was an opportunity to show His Royal Highness and the Duchess firsthand the difference the aid can make," he added.

The visit by Prince Charles and his wife coincided with a visit to Jordan by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, who in Amman earlier in the day urged donor nations to set aside special funds for the Syria crisis, warning of disaster if funding levels were not increased.

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UNHCR country pages

Non-Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

After Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled in Iraq in 2003, groups of refugees who had lived in the country for many years tried to leave the chaos and lawlessness that soon ensued. Hundreds of people started fleeing to the border with Jordan, including Palestinians in Baghdad and Iranian Kurds from the Al Tash refugee camp in central Iraq.

Aside from a few Palestinians with family connections inside the neighbouring country, the refugees were refused entry and free movement in Jordan. Thousands were soon stranded in the no-man's land between Iraq and Jordan or at the desert camp of Ruweished, located 60 kilometres inside Jordan.

Since 2003, Palestinians, Iranian Kurds, Iranians, Sudanese and Somalis have been living there and suffering the scorching heat and freezing winters of the Jordanian desert. UNHCR and its partners have provided housing and assistance and tried to find solutions – the agency has helped resettle more than 1,000 people in third countries. At the beginning of 2007, a total of 119 people – mostly Palestinians – remained in Ruweished camp without any immediate solution in sight.

Posted on 20 February 2007

Non-Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

The UN refugee agency has launched a US$60 million appeal to fund its work helping hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people. The new appeal concludes that unremitting violence in Iraq will likely mean continued mass internal and external displacement affecting much of the surrounding region. The appeal notes that the current exodus is the largest long-term population movement in the Middle East since the displacement of Palestinians following the creation of Israel in 1948.

UNHCR has warned that the longer this conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

The US$60 million will cover UNHCR's protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non-Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within Iraq itself.

Posted on 10 January 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

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