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The Crown Princess in Zaatari

HRH Crown Princess Mary and Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach are currently on a visit to Jordan, where they are drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis that has been a result of the war in Syria. Read more and see the clip.

HRH Crown Princess Mary and Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach on a visit to the second-largest refugee camp in the world, which lies outside the capital, Amman.

HRH Crown Princess Mary and Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach on a visit to the second-largest refugee camp in the world, which lies outside the capital, Amman.

HRH Crown Princess Mary and Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach are currently on a visit to Jordan, where they are drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis that has arisen as a result of the war in Syria. On the first day of the trip, they visited the second-largest refugee camp in the world, which is located outside of the capital, Amman, and houses approximately 120,000 Syrian refugees.

Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach says: “A year ago, aid workers had to fight and struggle in a somewhat chaotic situation in order to receive the thousands of refugees from Syria. I witnessed it myself on my first visit here at the Zaatari camp. Today, we have experienced a well-run camp that can provide security, food, health services and schools for 120,000 refugees. It was encouraging to see the efforts being made.”

Was there anything that left a particular impression?

“We saw that it was possible to take in women in labour, and take in the many traumatised children streaming out of Syria. We visited a place where the children can play and where they can go to school. We saw a tent camp that was significantly better than it was a year ago. We can’t resolve the conflict going on inside of Syria, but we can give the refugees that are pouring out of the country decent living conditions – and it was good to see and experience that with my own eyes.”

You sat down and drew pictures with some of the children.

“I painted and drew some pictures with a couple of boys, one was 12 and the other 13. They had experienced their school being bombed – and had fled from Syria. But they could also laugh and smile. They felt safe and secure, but they feared for their families and friends who they had left behind in Syria. It is a desperate situation.”

It seems that it will be a long-term conflict – what needs to be done in the longer term?

“We have managed to offer the refugees a tent, food and security, but obviously, the longer the conflict lasts, the more frustrated they become. We experienced that frustration in the refugee camp when we spoke with a mother of a teenage boy who couldn’t get any further in the school system. We are going to have to help them with education, jobs, building projects etc. Otherwise, the frustration will become evident, and many of the refugees will head towards the borders of Europe. We must do everything we can to help them here and to counteract the refugee strain that is occurring in Europe. Denmark has therefore initiated a major European project in which Denmark is leading the way in assisting the refugees here in their local area. This will be to the benefit of the many refugees in Jordan and Europe.”

You are travelling with HRH Crown Princess Mary, who is the patron of the Danish Refugee Council – what does her presence here mean?

“The presence of the Crown Princess draws a great deal of attention to the efforts being made here and is a great pat on the shoulder for the many volunteers from Jordan and from all over the world, who are working hard to help the refugees. It raises awareness in Denmark and in the region, and it helps to remind us that we must not forget these refugees. We must not forget the gigantic humanitarian crisis that is taking place because of the conflict in Syria.”

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