This is Shinji Yasuda from NICCOD Jordan Office. Today, I would like to introduce the Zarqa Governorate where the Syrian Refugees and Vulnerable Jordanians Support Center of NICCOD has been located.
Photo: Scenery from the center
The Jordan Hashemite Kingdom is separated into twelve governorates, and the Zarqa Governorate is the second largest city of the country in terms of its population, following Amman, the capital. Zarqa had been an important city for the military in the past, since the Ottoman had set up a railway there.
“Zarqa” was named after the fact that the people called “Akardeyun”, who used to reside around the north of the Arabian Peninsula, had called the city “Zarqi (means a water place)”. As the name indicates, Azraq, located in Eastern Zarqa, has the Azraq Wetland Reserve, and it is well-known as one of the biggest oases in the Middle East.
However, the source of natural water for the wetland dried up a couple of decades ago; therefore, the wetland is now maintained by artificial springs for the purpose of the protection of tourist resources.
Additionally, there is a huge refugee camp in Azraq where 34,154 Syrian people are living as refugees, according to the statistics as of 16th March, 2016, stated by UNHCR.
Photo: The Zarqa Support Center
Besides the Azraq Camp, the statistics show that there are 48,018 Syrian refugees throughout the Zarqa Governorate, and the number of refugees out there has been stable for the last few years, amounting to a population of around 50,000, with repeating influx as well as efflux of migration.
Many refugees have moved to the Zarqa Governorate, because the land is neighboring Amman and accessible easily there, whereas, the people can save on living expenses, compared with Amman.
Since a lot of Syrian people started immigrating to Zarqa, there has been a rise in the increase of real estate rent and the decrease in minimum wage, said locals. Jordan requires the help of humanitarian relief organizations all the time for their consideration to vulnerable Jordanians as well as Syrian refugees.
Our very important mission is to implement relief assistance for the Syrian people, while respecting the existing local communities of Jordanian people as much as possible.
We will continue to support the Syrian refugees and the vulnerable Jordanian people here in Zarqa from now on too.