The Syrian civil war has caused an estimated 200,000 refugees to flee into neighboring states, approximately 80,700 of whom reside in refugee camps in Jordan, the largest of which is Zaatari. Nicknamed "Children's Camp", it is characterized by the large presence of under-18s, who consist 53% of its 36,000 population. It is now approaching maximum capacity and faces critical problems requiring immediate assistance if the health and dignity of residents is to be upheld (As of December 2012).
Jordan is 92% desert and the fourth most arid country in the world. It has scorching summers and winters that occasionally reach below zero. Water supplies are limited, and frequent sandstorms sweep across the camp, causing health and hygiene problems, such as respiratory ailments and diarrhea. Crucial amenities such as hygiene and infant materials, clothes and blankets are urgently required, especially for the 720 pregnant mothers in residence.
JEN's current priority in the camp is the distribution of hygiene kits, infant goods, and winter amenities, in order to contribute to a healthy, safe, and proper environment. These goods are of utmost importance in a camp with a large underage population, especially as winter draws closer by the day. Plans are also underway for the construction of clean and sustainable water sanitation facilities, and the promotion of hygiene practices to ensure the health and dignity of the residents.
Apart from immediate benefits to the camp's refugees, the potential long term impact of JEN's Zaatari operation is considerable. Hygiene education conducted in schools will impart awareness of sanitation issues to children for life, whilst the distribution of winter clothing and infant goods can prevent adverse health conditions and even deaths. Psycho-social care for all ages will help minimize the trauma that many are continuing to experience.
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