Azraq, Jordan- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) inaugurated a solar power plant at the Azraq camp hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan.
The plant, which was funded by the “Brighter Lives for Refugees” campaign organized by the IKEA Foundation, will provide partial supply of electricity to the camp’s residents who were deprived from power for three years. The plant will also contribute to accomplishing the Jordanian national energy strategy for a green economy by 2020.
The project will provide two-megawatt solar photovoltaic power to some 20,000 Syrian refugees who live in around 5,000 shelters in the camp. Each family will be able to light its home, refrigerate its food, and charge its phones, which is very important for refugees to keep in touch with their relatives abroad.
Refugees had complained about their isolation in camps lacking electricity, which became challenging for the camp’s caretakers, especially on security issues. Therefore, the UNHCR decided in 2015 to build a solar power plant, which was supposed to start operating in the same year. However, it was delayed to 2017.
The camp hosts over 20,000 refugees, 54 percent of whom are younger than 18. The camp extends over 14 square kilometers and comprises 8,029 caravans, a hospital with 130 beds, two schools enlisting 5,000 students, along with playgrounds for children, a library, and centers to treat refugees suffering from social and psychological abuse.
There around 1.39 million Syrian refugees in Jordan; 635,000 are registered in the UNHCR, and 130,000 live in six camps in the country, with the biggest among being Azraq and Zaatari camps.