|By Marketwire .||
|August 29, 2012 07:00 PM EDT||
ZATA'ARI REFUGEE CAMP, JORDAN -- (Marketwire) -- 08/29/12 -- A refugee camp in Jordan set up to house families fleeing fighting in Syria has been overwhelmed by thousands of desperate people and is now chronically underfunded, Save the Children warned today.
The number of refugees crossing the border from Syria to the Zata'ari camp in Jordan has risen hugely in recent days, leaving camp authorities swamped and unable to meet their basic needs when they arrive.
Sixty five per cent of camp inhabitants are children, but funding shortages and a sharp rise in the numbers of families arriving from Syria have resulted in flawed distribution and registration processes, leaving many without basic supplies such as nutritious food and healthcare.
The Zata'ari camp was set up last month to house just 500 people, but has grown to almost 20,000, with as many as 3,300 people arriving every day.
There are fears the poor conditions in the camp could get even worse unless urgent action is taken. Save the Children is calling for funding to be made available to prevent a full-blown humanitarian crisis developing on the Jordanian side of the border.
Earlier this month, Foreign Minister, John Baird, announced that Canada would provide $6 million in aid to Jordan and $1.5 million to the World Food Program to help Syrian refugees, but since that time the situation has dramatically escalated. Additional funding from donor governments, including Canada, would allow humanitarian groups to scale up their interventions to meet the growing needs of refugees.
"Families have fled the conflict in Syria, but instead of reaching safety in Jordan, they are arriving to find there is food of poor quality and limited general services. More than half of the refugees are children, and conditions in the camp are appalling," said Ibrahim Younis, Save the Children's Syria emergency response coordinator.
"Until funding is made available to help Syrian refugees, the situation will only deteriorate as more families arrive. The international community must step up and help these desperate families by making funding urgently available."
The conflict in Syria is forcing more and more people from their homes, with 30,000 people believed to have fled Syria into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq over the past week alone.
United Nations predictions of 200,000 refugees by the end of the year have already been met, but the aid effort of the humanitarian community to meet their needs in the region remains chronically underfunded, with only 33% of what is needed.
Save the Children is currently responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, providing basic supplies, education and specialist child protection to children who have been forced from their homes.
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As the world's leading independent child rights organization, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. We work to create a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.
Save the Children operates in 119 countries worldwide, including Canada, focusing on the issues of health and nutrition, education, HIV and AIDS, child protection, livelihoods and food security, emergency relief and child rights governance. Learn more about our work at www.savethechildren.ca.
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