'Heartbreaking': Prince Charles meets traumatised children as he tours Jordan refugee camp

 

Jordan

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall came face to face with the huge human cost of the conflict in Syria today when they visited a refugee camp in Jordan.

The royal couple saw first hand the situation that faces the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war-torn country as the conflict enters its third year.

Charles described the plight of Syrian refugees as “heartbreaking” as he toured the King Abdullah Park camp near the Syrian border, which is home to just under 1,000 people who have fled their homes.

Speaking at the refugee camp headquarters after meeting with UN staff, he said: “Many of these children have been traumatised by the horrors of what they've witnessed before they got here,” he said.

“Some of them have lost their parents and had horrendous experiences and it is remarkable what all these wonderful NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are doing to deal with this unbelievable and heartbreaking situation.

”In some ways children are quite adaptable and resilient but at the same time one of their teachers was telling me that just looking at trees reminded them of where they have been.

“The hope is that they will get back there again.”

Camilla said she too had found the experience quite heartbreaking.

“Seeing all these children, some of them have lost their parents and been adopted by others, I feel it is quite heartbreaking,” she said.

“They are doing a fantastic job.”

The camp, run by the United Nations, Unicef and Save the Children, is currently home to 921 refugees, of whom 529 are aged under 18.

Saba Mobaslat, 41, the programme director for Save the Children in Jordan, said the children at the camp are bussed to local schools to continue their education but go to the children's centre every day for therapy sessions.

The UN agency and the Jordanian Ministry of Health are also undertaking a vaccination programme against polio and measles, and ensuring sanitation in the camps to keep diseases at bay.

Charles and Camilla visited a craft skills training centre for women and children, meeting half a dozen women who were making crafts and knitting goods, which they sell to raise funds for the refugees.

Camilla immediately gave the ladies a thumbs up, prompting them to laugh and smile.

They then went to a nursery where around 20 children, many of whom have lost family members, sat around tables and sang songs to them.

They also visited the camp's clinic, where they were greeted by doctors and medical staff who treat the refugees.

Charles added that he had been struck by the generosity of the Jordanian people.

“I think the great thing that's come out of this is just how unbelievably generous the Jordanian people are, who are truly remarkable I think.

”They've managed to cope with and deal with all these hundreds of thousands of refugees and it's very nearly the second anniversary.

“It's a desperate situation and the Jordanian people are so fantastic.

”The generosity is extraordinary but it's putting more and more strain on food and hospitals so clearly the Jordanians need more assistance and help to be able to cope with this immense challenge.“

More than 330,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan since the war began, according to Unicef figures, with 1,700 refugees registered in the past 24 hours.

Andrew Harper, the humanitarian co-ordinator for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the country, said the number of refugees in the country could top one million by the end of 2013 if the fighting does not end.

He said entire villages have come across the border during what he called ”the preliminary stages of a mass migration“.

”The most important thing is to highlight the enormous challenges that a country like Jordan is facing, given the unprecedented number of people coming across the border,“ he said.

He added: ”Jordan has done a fantastic effort so far but words are not enough and the visits are extremely important because Jordan can't continue to take hundreds of thousands or a million with nice words from the international community.

“We need significant support and investment. We are all running out of money. International aid is too slow and too little. We are faced with a looming disaster.”

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past