Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Royals visit refugee camp in Jordan

The Prince of Wales has visited a refugee camp in Jordan which is home to people fleeing the Syrian civil war
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall meet Syrian refugees in the King Abdullah Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan
The Duchess of Cornwall meets Syrian refugees in the King Abdullah Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan
Prince Charles meets Syrian refugees in the King Abdullah Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall came face to face with the huge human cost of the conflict in Syria when they visited a refugee camp in Jordan.

The royal couple saw first hand the situation that faces the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war-torn country as the conflict enters its third year.

Charles described the plight of Syrian refugees as "heartbreaking" as he toured the King Abdullah Park camp near the Syrian border, which is home to just under 1,000 people who have fled their homes.

Speaking at the refugee camp headquarters after meeting with UN staff, he said: "Many of these children have been traumatised by the horrors of what they've witnessed before they got here."

"Some of them have lost their parents and had horrendous experiences and it is remarkable what all these wonderful NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are doing to deal with this unbelievable and heartbreaking situation."

The camp, run by the United Nations, Unicef and Save the Children, is currently home to 921 refugees, of whom 529 are aged under 18.

Saba Mobaslat, 41, the programme director for Save the Children in Jordan, said the children at the camp are bussed to local schools to continue their education but go to the children's centre every day for therapy sessions.

Charles and Camilla went to a nursery where around 20 children, many of whom have lost family members, sat around tables and sang songs to them, and visited the camp's clinic where they were greeted by doctors and medical staff who treat the refugees.

Charles added that he had been struck by the generosity of the Jordanian people, saying: "It's a desperate situation and the Jordanian people are so fantastic."

More than 330,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan since the war began, according to Unicef figures, with 1,700 refugees registered in the past 24 hours, but Andrew Harper, the humanitarian co-ordinator for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the country, said the number could top one million by the end of 2013 if the fighting does not end.

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