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Life inside a Syrian refugee camp

Jordan, Syria, August 29, 2012

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Cassandra Nelson

August, 2012

I've spent the past week working in the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, about six miles from the Syrian border. The camp was opened less than a month ago to receive Syrians fleeing the violence in their country.

Built on a barren desert plain without a tree or shrub in sight, it can seem an unwelcoming place to arrive, even for a refugee.

Dust storms and scorching heat have taken their toll on refugees and aid workers here. But given that less than 4% of Jordanian land is arable the terrain is not a surprise.

Over 20,000 Syrian refugees have moved into Zaatari camp already, and the pace of new arrivals to the camp has more than doubled, with more than 14,000 arriving in the past week alone. Yesterday, we received over 3,000 new arrivals overnight, up from an average of 600 per day just last week.