Syrian refugee playing with a home-made kite at the Azraq refugee camp, near Zarqa, some 100 km from Amman, Jordan. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/AMEL PAIN
Syrian refugee playing with a home-made kite at the Azraq refugee camp, near Zarqa, some 100 km from Amman, Jordan. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/AMEL PAIN

Although Jordan is known for its pleasant weather, the winter season can be very harsh, with temperatures below zero. The Norwegian Refugee Council is on the ground in Azraq camp in central-eastern Jordan to help Syrian refugees prepare for the freezing cold.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has managed the distribution of basic household items, clothing and products to help refugees deal with the cold winter season at Jordan's Azraq refugee camp since early 2013. Among the items the organization provides are heaters, thermal blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and cooking sets with two gas cylinders to newly arrived refugees. 


''You cannot escape the cold'', said Hamza Abu Salim, the Norwegian Refugee Council's distribution officer at the camp. He is part of a team helping refugees cope with the winter season. 

36,000 Syrian refugees living at the camp - UNHCR 

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), more than 36,000 Syrian refugees are currently living at the Azraq camp in Jordan. 

Job opportunities are limited, making it difficult to earn an income and buy essential winter equipment. To support them, the NRC, through its partnership with UNHCR, provides residents with 155 dollars in cash assistance, so that they can refill their gas cylinders and buy winter clothes. Through cash assistance, refugees can decide how they want to spend the money they receive according to their needs, the organization said.

'Refugees have fewer concerns' thanks to aid 

Lutfieh from Syria lives with her sister in a caravan next to her son Issam and his wife and eight children. They are from Syria and have been living at the camp for more than two years. ''My mother is an old woman," said Issam. ''She needs to stay warm, which means we never turn off the heater. Sometimes we all gather in one caravan to stay warm and to save energy." 

He and his family received household items and winter assistance when they first arrived at the camp. ''We are still using these items, they are essential,'' said Issam. During the winter, Azraq is windy and it can get very cold. With isolation shields distributed by NRC, people can protect their caravans from the rain and wind. 

''Many refugees are worried about the winter'', said Hamza Abu Salim. ''They worry about how to find warm enough clothes for their children and about their health. Through our assistance, they have fewer worries," he stressed. 
 

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