Solar Power In Zaatari Refugee Camps Creates Safer Environment

An international relief organization is using solar power to help create a safer environment for thousands of refugees.

Oxfam International, a confederation of 17 philanthropic organizations, has installed solar powered lamp posts outside of several sanitation facilities in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

Karl Schembri, an Oxfam journalist, visited the camp and highlighted the importance of the lamps in improving the safety of the some 120,000 refugees living in Zaatari, 60,000 of whom are children.

"The [Oxfam] engineers have to leave the camp each day at a certain hour, but I recently had the privilege to stay overnight," he told Oxfam. "I could see these lights are lighting up entire streets, so people feel safe to go to the toilet at night."

The solar panels are part of the organization's continuing efforts to improve the living conditions of those in Zaatari.

One of the organization's most notable projects involves providing clean water and sanitation facilities for the refugees. UNICEF recently claimed that the lack of water sanitation in the camp poses an enormous threat to the health of the children living there. Oxfam, however, is working to curb this crisis -- reporting that they have developed several improved showers, latrines, and water taps, thereby helping 20,000 refugees.

But, with U.N. resources remaining scarce and 2,000 refugees arriving in the camp each day, Zaatari still faces a worsening humanitarian crisis.

In a recent statement, Oxfam's Syria Response manager, Colette Fearon, highlighted the severity of the refugee spillover from the Syrian crisis.

"People are living in shopping centres, empty garages or make-shift tents on derelict land. They are struggling to survive on little or nothing, and many are falling through the cracks. With no immediate end in sight to the conflict the problem will only get worse. The UN describes this as the biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and we need to make sure assistance reaches refugees no matter where they are."

To learn more about Oxfam's initiatives or to get involved, click here.



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