New refugee camp to open in Jordan

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Refugees, employed by the Norwegian Refugee Council, carry metal sheeting to cover a kitchen area-Jordan’s Za’atri camp. UNHCR/B.Sokol

A record number of Syrian refugees have crossed the border into Jordan, with 30,000 people having arrived at the Za'atri camp since the beginning of the year. That's almost twice the number that arrived in December and three times the figure for October. Just yesterday, 4,400 refugees turned up at the camp. And in the course of the night another 2,000 arrived.

To accommodate this increase in the numbers of people fleeing the conflict in Syria, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Jordanian Government are preparing for a second major camp.

Melissa Fleming is UNHCR's Chief Spokesperson.

"We are working around the clock to prepare the second camp. It's close to the Za'atri camp and it will be called Halabat. Hopefully, by the end of the month, this is next week, it will be open and up and running and 5,000 people will be accommodated, with the plan to increase the capacity to 30,000."

It's estimated that the number of refugees in Za'atri camp currently stands at 65,000. According to the Jordanian government, there are more than 300,000 Syrian refugees already in the country.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva.
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