Saturday, March, 29th, 2014 10:00am
Campus in Camps, Al Feneiq Center, (Dheisheh Refugee Camp)
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, roughly 500,000 refugees have flowed into Jordan. Such a huge and sudden influx can stifle any nation, even one as experienced at hosting refugees as the latter. The most evident example of the deep-rooted social, economic and political issues that come along with the phenomenon are present in the Zaatari camp in the northern desert. This camp has become a sprawling micro-city, spanning over 8.5 square kilometers and with a population of approximately 120,000.
This huge camp has faced many challenges, mainly concerning its management, which is the co-responsibility of the UNHCR and the Jordanian government. In particular, questions concerning the integration of the camp’s population into its governance remain unresolved, in addition to a number of other challenges, including education, health, housing and social conflict.
In light of the length and the continuation of the Syrian crisis, along with the lack of any solution in the foreseeable future, refugees have found themselves forced to find ways of coping and adapting both socially and economically, as well as integrating themselves into the camp’s governance. This has occurred in a variety of very creative ways.
Akram Atallah Alayasa is a researcher at Fafo/AIS – Norwegian Institute for Applied International Studies. His research concerns living condition, refugees and internally displaced people as well as socio-political opinion polls. His wide range of experience from Africa and the Middle East, has seen him study cases in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Uganda, Sudan and Palestine and he has worked in a number of refugee camps.