Interactive Map of Za’atari: tent city home to 120,000

Emergencies article written on the 21 Aug 2013

By the end of August, more than 2 million people will have fled their homes due to violence in Syria. With so many people seeking refuge, without permanent homes, this is one of the largest humanitarian crises the world has faced.

With 1.8 million people already fleeing Syria, neighboring countries Jordan and Lebanon have become host to more than 500,000 refugees each. The Za’atari refugee camp is the largest settlement of refugees, hosting over 120,000 people in tents on the border of Jordan and Syria.

It’s hard to imagine a tent city of over 120,000 people. But you can can explore the interactive Google map of the Za’atari refugee camp above.

A sprawling tent city, that stretches out as far as they eye can see the Za’atari refuge camp has grown from nothing to become the equivalent of the fifth largest city in Jordan. With such a sudden growth in population, providing a safe and clean environment has presented a massive humanitarian challenge for Jordan.

How does a country like Jordan provide food, housing, clean water and sanitation for its fifth largest city that appeared almost overnight? Cities of 120,000 people need infrastructure to provide food, water, housing and essential services to its population.

With clean drinking water and proper sanitation tens of thousands of people will avoid preventable illness caused by unhygienic conditions. With proper shelter the refugees in Za’atari will be able to avoid the often extreme weather conditions in Jordan.

But with so many people fleeing Syria everyday, providing safe conditions for refugees is a huge challenge that faces Jordan, Lebanon as well as organisations like Oxfam that are working in partnership with the UN and local governments to provide much needed assistance to these refugees right now.