Winter is coming: Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan
Evening falls, and temperatures drop in Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan, on November 21st, 2012.
As winter descends, the threat to the more than 31,000 refugees taking shelter in Za'tarai - as well as the other approximately 400,000 people who have fled Syria - is increasing daily.
UNHCR is working to relocate approximately 2,000 refugee families - with a priority on first providing for the needs of the most vulnerable - from tents to caravans. The caravans, which have been donated by the government of Saudi Arabia, provide a greater degree of protection and insulation from the hash winter elements.
For refugees, the journey from Syria is a perilous one, taking place at night and in temperatures which often hover close to freezing. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable, as they are required to walk across uneven terrain in the dark. At times, groups must spend up to two hours making the crossing afoot, attempting to keep babies silent and watching out for possible ambushes.
Whereas previously, it was the most economically impoverished Syrians who were making the crossing into Jordan, in recent weeks there has been an increase in refugees with higher levels of wealth. There has also been an increase in the number of female-headed households (mothers traveling with their children).
Upon arrival at Za'atari, UNHCR and partner organizations see to it that refugees are issued two blankets, a sleeping mat, and foodstuffs to see them through the night. However, as winter advances and temperatures continue to plummet, there is a strong need to provide warmer clothes, blankets and structures for vulnerable families and individuals.
Photo: UNHCR/Brian Sokol