Zaatari refugee camp, where 80,000 Syrians yearn to go back home

Non lontano dal confine con la Siria, il campo profughi di Zaatari è diventato ormai una delle città più grandi della Giordania. Dove si vive di speranza.

Zaatari is one of the largest cities in Jordan. It’s a city with no streets, no buildings, no means of transport: it’s the country’s largest refugee camp, populated by tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, forced to flee their land ever since the nation governed by Bashar al Assad burst into a long and bloody war.

There’s a multitude of blue and grey tents, which could be mistaken with the surrounding desert. A video published by BBC show an aerial view of it: a heap of misery on ochre sand, in the middle of nowhere.

Campo profughi Zaatari Giordania
Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan, isome to 80,000 Syrian refugees © Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Home to 80,000 refugees

Zaatari is currently home to 80,000 refugees. Every day it welcomes 20,000 new residents. It’s “an open-air prison, where people – mostly coming from the city of Daraa – do anything but wait,  while losing their hope,” told the French newspaper France24.

The camp opened on 28 July 2012. According to BBC, “it costs about 500,000 dollars a day to run, with half a million pieces of bread and 4.2 million litres of water distributed daily”. Among the tents, little shops, barbers, bazars, and a supermarket rised up. There’s even a shop to rent wedding dresses, for 20 dollars a day. But this isn’t enough to make it a normal life.

Some have been living in the camp for 3 years

Zaatari camp completely relies on humanitarian aids and on the work of non-governmental organisations, which struggle to maintain acceptable conditions in the camp, especially when summer temperatures rise up to 42°C, practically making the tents ovens.


Campo profughi Zaatari Giordania1
© J Mitchell/Getty Images

Al Jazeera’s investigative report, published in October 2015, tells the stories of those people who have been living in the camp for almost three years. Hamdan, arrived from Khirbet Ghazalah, Southern Syria, with his family of nine, said: “I thought we were going to stay here for a month – two at most – to wait until things calm down”. But 30 months have gone by, spent in a 19-square-metres, shared with eight other family members.

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