Syrians living in Jordan provide relatives in refugee camp with basic necessities

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The huge influx of refugees arriving in Jordan after fleeing the violence in Syria has left the local authorities struggling to cope.

The influx has overwhelmed camp officials, who are already dealing with a shortage of supplies and difficult weather conditions.

Now, those lucky enough to have family already living in the kingdom are looking to them for help.

Local resident Um Ahmad, who is Syrian, said she was doing what she could to provide for her relatives living in the Zaatari refugee camp.

“We came here to visit our cousins. Their mother is tired and sick, so I came to see if they need anything. That’s all,” she said, as she delivered a large bag of food.

Jordan’s main Zaatari camp along the border hosts at least 60,000 Syrian refugees, with the rest spread across the country. Thousands continue to arrive in the kingdom every week.

Although the flow of refugees is causing concern in Jordan, the government says it will continue to keep its borders open but wants other countries to help boost its ability to cope.

Refugees say they are increasingly reliant on their families to provide for them.

“These things I have here are from the visitors who come from outside the camp, our relatives bring them to us,” said Alaa al-Bawdy. “They get us supplies such as bread, and tea, and other everyday things,” he added.

In total, Jordan now hosts more than 330,000 mostly impoverished Syrians, or nearly five percent of its own population of seven million.

At a donor’s conference in Kuwait last week, Jordan’s King Abdullah said his country had exhausted its resources trying to look after them.

At Zaatari, charity worker Ghazi Sarhan said Jordan was trying to make life at the camp as bearable as possible for the residents.

“The camp doors are open for visitors who want to communicate with their friends and family inside the camp. Visitors are either Jordanians, or Syrians already living in the Kingdom, or Syrians who have been sponsored by Jordanians outside the camp. These visitors communicate with their family, be it a sister or cousin or mother, anyone who still resides inside the camp. So communication between the refugees and their loved ones happens daily and is always possible,” he said.

Some residents, however, said the conditions were very difficult in the increasingly overcrowded camp.

“We’ve been here for ten days and so far we have received no blankets or covers, there’s no food available, there’s nothing, nothing at all,” said Basel Hariri who crossed into Jordan just over a week ago.

Jordan says it attributes the spike in refugee numbers to the level of military activity in Syria, as several towns and villages in the south of the country have been heavily bombed in recent weeks.

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