NEW YORK (January 10, 2013) — Severe weather conditions across northern Jordan—including heavy rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures—have greatly worsened the situation of children living in the Za’atari camp, which hosts some 55,000 refugees from neighboring Syria.
Widespread flooding has occurred, swamping tents, and overwhelming the camp draining system. Deep mud is making it harder to supply water, dislodging trucks and blocking access to the camp. Several Child Friendly Spaces 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 of the flooding. 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 other partners, we are doing everything possible to ensure services are maintained and that children stay warm and dry.”
Hyde added that the lack of funding has been a 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,” she said.
The deteriorating situation at the Za’atari camp comes amidst a continuing influx of refugees from across the border. Since the beginning of January, nearly 10,000 Syrians have arrived in Jordan.
How to help: For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF’s relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038
As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect any excess funds to children in greatest need.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.