More camp space needed to host Syrian refugeesListen /
Overcrowding in camps hosting Syrian refugees is becoming a major problem compromising the quality of assistance aid organizations can provide, according to the UN Refugee agency UNHCR.
The agency is appealing to governments in the region to allocate more space for the construction of refugee camps.
Adrian Edwards from UNHCR says sanitation services were falling below acceptable humanitarian standards due to overcrowding, while the limited living space and warmer temperatures are increasing vulnerability to outbreaks of diseases as well as to tension between camp residents.
"The situation at Domiz camp, in northwest of Iraq is especially worrying. The Domiz camp is currently housing around 35,000 Syrian refugees and is critically overcrowded. Thousands of families are sharing tents with newly arrived refugees almost 3,500 families do not have their own shelters. The number of children below 5 years of age suffering from diarrhoea has doubled in recent weeks: Since February, on average nine children out of every hundred suffer from diarrhoea per week. Additionally, there have been 62 cases of Hepatitis A since the beginning of the year. UNHCR, UNICEF and WHO are conducting a joint assessment to address the observed increase."
UNHCR says the number of Syrians who have fled into neighbouring countries now stands at over 1.2 million.
Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva.