New-style refugee camp opens doors

A vast new refugee camp designed in response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis will open its doors in Jordan today to the first of up to 130,000 inhabitants.

With no end to the conflict in sight, Jordan, the United Nations and aid agencies have collaborated on the design and construction of a new village-style camp at Azraq, 100km east of the capital Amman.

World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said that Azraq’s accommodation is arranged into separate villages where families will live in semi-permanent shelters rather than tents, reducing a sense of temporary refuge that pervades most camps.

“The opening of Azraq refugee camp marks yet another sober milestone in the three year crisis, which still sees up to 600 Syrians daily fleeing their homeland to Jordan,” Mr Costello said.

“It’s a sad fact that we are now designing refugee camps for longer-term use, but it is an unfortunate reality given the scale of the prolonged conflict in Syria.”

World Vision is one of the agencies that has worked to prepare the camp situated in Jordan’s dry and dusty desert region.

World Vision’s regional leader for the Middle East, Australian Conny Lenneberg, said with Jordan one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, the humanitarian organisation focused its efforts on water and sanitation facilities for the camp.

“We built latrines, water tanks and sanitation infrastructure for up to 30,000 people,” Ms Lenneberg said.

Za'atari, Jordan’s primary refugee camp, is already home to nearly 100,000 people, and more than 450,000 are living in communities around the country, many without access to basic services.

“There will be more water and sanitation facilities per family than was initially available at Za’atari,” Ms Lenneberg said. “It means a lot to us to get this right.”

World Vision welcomes the Australian Government’s recent funding allocation to the Syria crisis. However the humanitarian organisation continues to call upon all parties to the conflict in Syria, and all those with influence over them, to negotiate a peaceful solution. World Vision is appealing for immediate protection of all children, including compliance with the Security Council resolution to allow families in Syria to access life-saving aid.

To donate to World Vision Australia’s Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal call 13 32 40 or go to 

Tim Costello and Conny Lenneberg are available for interview.

Images and footage of Azraq Refugee Camp are available.

Media contact: Gabrielle Brophy, 0407 575 112 or

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