ZA’ATARI CAMP, JORDAN, 10 January 2013 – Severe weather conditions across northern Jordan – including heavy rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures – have greatly worsened the situation of children among some 55,000 Syrian refugees living at Za’atari camp.
Widespread flooding has occurred, swamping tents, and overwhelming the camp draining system. Deep mud is making it harder for the water and dislodging trucks to access the camp.
Several Child Friendly Spaces tents and areas have been flooded, and a tent used to shelter unaccompanied minors has collapsed.
In response, UNICEF and its partners are working around the clock to sustain the provision of services to the camp, and in particular, to ensure that all refugees have access to water, latrines and showers.
UNHCR, the Ministry of Public Works, and UNICEF partner THW are working to drain the affected area and mitigate the effects.
UNICEF has distributed emergency warm clothing along with sleeping mats to replace mattresses soaked by the rain. Heaters have been distributed to families now living in prefabricated buildings within the camp.
“The next 72 hours will be a critical test of our ability to meet the basic needs of children and their families at Za’atari,” said UNICEF Jordan Representative Dominique Hyde. “Alongside the Government of Jordan and our and other partners, we are doing everything possible to ensure services are maintained and that children stay warm and dry.”
Ms. Hyde added that a lack of funding was one major constraint.
“The resources we raised in 2012 have been exhausted, and no fresh funds have come for this year. We urgently appeal to the international community and donors in general to commit fresh funding as soon as possible.”
The deteriorating situation at Za’atari comes amid a continuing influx of refugees from across the border. Since the beginning of January, close to 10,000 Syrians have arrived in Jordan.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For more information, please contact:
Juliette Touma, UNICEF Jordan,
Mobile + 962 79 867 4628 / +962 79 826 3437,
Kent Page, UNICEF New York,
Tel +1 212 326 7605 / Mobile + 1 719 302 1735,