Azraq: New Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

By Sevil Omer and Robert Neufeld
Apr 25, 2014

Azraq, in Arabic (الأزرق‎), means “the blue one.” But Azraq is far from a desert oasis: it is remote and arid. It is also to become home to thousands of Syrian refugees. World Vision has been a key player in developing the Azraq camp, which has the capacity to host up to 130,000 people, an estimated half of whom will be children. Here’s a closer look at what could be one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Click here to help Syrian refugee families. For more information on the crisis, view full coverage.

©2013 Jon Warren/World Vision
Hundreds upon hundreds of small, white shelters line up in straight rows, waiting to provide protection from the hot sun and the elements for thousands of refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria. World Vision is among two dozen agencies working in Azraq camp, which is about two-thirds the size of Manhattan.
©2013 Jon Warren/World Vision
Azraq is currently divided into four districts or '"villages" that will each house at least 10,000 refugees. More than 2,000 latrines and shower spaces have been built, which means fewer families will have to share the same facilities. Privacy means a lot to the refugees, many of whom have undergone incredible hardships which forced them to leave Syria.
©2013 Jon Warren/World Vision
World Vision’s staff inspects a water system in October 2013. World Vision constructed the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) system for part of the camp, including septic tanks, toilets, showers, and water tanks — vital to a healthy environment for children and families.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
Families will live in shelters, not tents. Schools and playgrounds have already been built for children.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
Children's playground at the camp.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
A Syrian refugee woman hangs wet clothes between two shelters at the camp. Syrians are setting up their housekeeping in their temporary homes. Many have traveled for days, so getting access to fresh water to wash clothes is an immediate priority.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
World Vision water and sanitation specialist Lubna Labieb talks to a Syrian refugee, giving her instructions on how to access cleaning materials and fresh water at the camp.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
Men's and women's toilet and washing facilities. Each will serve six Syrian refugee families.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
Children with their mother outside their shelter.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
One-year-old Shaad explores her new world inside a shelter at Azraq refugee camp. She is among 400 Syrian refugees who arrived ahead of the official opening on April 30.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
Water is trucked to fill eight large water tanks, each with a 25,000-gallon capacity. More than seven miles of pipeline was laid to bring water from the tanks to 156 taps, so that every family will be within 275 yards of a water source.
©2014 Robert Neufeld/World Vision
Water storage tanks are operated and maintained by World Vision. Jordan is one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, and the environment at Azraq is dry, dusty, and devoid of vegetation. World Vision officials say the Jordanian government, United Nations, and aid agencies have designed the camp with safety, comfort, and cultural considerations in mind.