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Jordan selects Zarqa site for second Syrian refugee camp

By Taylor Luck - Oct 14,2012 - Last updated at Oct 14,2012

AMMAN — Authorities have chosen a site near the city of Zarqa for its second Syrian refugee camp, officials unveiled on Sunday, in face of a refugee influx expected to reach 250,000 by the end of the year.

According to Anmar Hmoud, government spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs, Jordan will establish its second Syrian refugee camp in the area of Marjeeb Al Fahood, a stretch of arid plains some 20 kilometres east of Zarqa.

Officials hope to open the site, designed to house some 45,000 Syrians, by the end of the year, Hmoud said in a statement to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

According to relief officials, the second camp is to serve as an “overflow facility” for the Zaatari camp, which at 36,000 refugees is at over half-capacity.

The renewed efforts to open a second camp come amid a reported resurgence in the number of Syrians crossing into the Kingdom, with the UN Refugee Agency projecting the refugee community in Jordan to reach 250,000 by the end of the year.

Under initial plans, UN and local authorities will transfer all new arrivals to the second camp in order to relieve growing pressure on Zaatari, which has witnessed a series of clashes and protests over the past month over living conditions.

Relief sources say authorities abandoned the previously leading candidate for the country’s second camp, Ribaa Sirhaan near the Jordanian-Syrian border, after further studies revealed that the region’s dusty desert climate would lead to similar “harsh” living conditions.

Jordan currently follows an open-border policy, having granted refuge to over 210,000 Syrians since the beginning of the crisis in March 2011. 

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