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.