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Syrian Refugees: Children's Lives In Jordan's Zaatari Camp

The Different Faces Of Life In Refuge At Jordan's Zaatari Camp 1

Mohamed, 13, a Syrian refugee from Daraa picks up his family’s food ration at a WFP food distribution point in Zaatari camp. WFP has been distributing dry rations and bread in Zaatari camp since mid-October. Bread is distributed daily and food rations are distributed every two weeks.

 

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Mohamed and his brother Malek, 12 and 13, dragging their family’s two-week food ration outside a WFP distribution point in Zaatari camp in Jordan’s Al Mafraq. The camp, which was opened last July, can now accommodate up to 45,000 people.

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A Syrian refugee carries his ration outside a WFP food distribution point at Zaatari camp in Jordan. In its second November cycle, WFP distributed food assistance to almost 28,000 refugees.

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A signboard outside WFP distribution point in Zaatari camp in Jordan indicating the items each family gets every two weeks. Save the Children implements the distributions of food rations that include rice, bulgar, lentils, vegetable oil as well as sugar and salt. Families cook their own meals in communal kitchens around the camp.

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Beneficiaries receive cards that hold their information including names, the size of their families and the date they receive their ration. The cards ensure quick and efficient distributions with minimum waiting period for each beneficiary.

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Three children, who fled Daraa with their families due to intensified fighting, playing in the newly-paved “main road” in the camp. Children in Zaatari camp in Jordan try to replicate the life they had back home. Neighbours back home are neighbours in the camp and are united by the hope of returning to their areas one day soon.

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[From Left] Marwa, 12, and Zeina, 10, come from Daraa and Homs respectively. Although they come from two different towns, they share the same experiences and memories of shelling and fighting that drove them out of their homes and ultimately out of their country.

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Zeina [right] next to her brother Ziyad, 14. They live in Zaatari camp with their mother and father who fled Homs to protect their children. The family was displaced more than three times inside Syria before arriving in Jordan three months ago in search of safety.

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Zeina, 10, huddled between her mother and father in their tent. Zeina and her brother Ziyad once had their own private rooms in their house in Homs where their father had a flourishing furniture business. Now, the father has lost his business and savings and says humanitarian assistance he receives is essential to keep the family afloat. The mother, once a teacher before becoming a stay-at-home mother, now works as a teacher again at the camp school.

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Eslam, 9, is Zaatari camp’s Messi. Wearing Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi’s no. 10 shirt, Eslam plays football every day in the camp with his friends and neighbours from Daraa from where he and his family fled. He goes to the camp school in the morning and by noon he begins his daily football match.

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Aisha is an expert at "reading" fortunes in coffee grounds. That makes her tent a popular place among Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan. A fun, time-honoured tradition recalling better times at home, it takes on special significance for families whose future is so uncertain. Her neighbour’s daughter Malak (Arabic for Angel), 5, looks closely at the cup while Aisha is busy with the future hoping it would be less painful than the present.

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A Syrian girl from Daraa running around between the lined tents in Zaatari camp. As thousands more Syrians pour into neighbouring countries, WFP is responding to cover the food needs of refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey with food distributions and innovative food vouchers. Joint needs assessments in these countries showed that food was a top priority. WFP provided food assistance to almost 160,000 refugees in October 2012.

As thousands more Syrians pour into neighbouring countries, WFP is responding to cover the food needs of refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey with food distributions and innovative food vouchers.