whats known and unknown

Looking for Shelter (and a Little Privacy) in Jordan’s Largest Syrian Refugee Camp

on November 8, 2013


With winter fast approaching and thousands of Syrian refugees still living in tents at Zaatari, the huge refugee camp in northern Jordan, the most momentous new arrivals are the big, white boxes that enter camp on the back of flatbed trucks.  What the refugees call “caravans” are pre-fabricated one-room units, just four walls, a couple of windows and a laminated floor. But they are the object of such ardent desire that when a convoy carrying 300 of them approached Zaatari on Tuesday morning, camp authorities braced for a riot.  Three armored trucks took up positions near the entrance. The nearest aid agency hurried its workers indoors with frowns and pursed lips.

“The quality of the caravans differs, but they are protection” says Iris Blom, the camp’s deputy manager. “People fight for them. Literally fight.”

What unfolded on Tuesday, however, was a scene not of the angry desperation that characterized…

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