Almost 700 third country nationals are
being sheltered at or have passed through a Jordan Red Crescent camp to
accommodate those displaced by the conflict in Iraq.
On Thursday, just hours after the conflict began, some 250 Sudanese nationals with valid travel documents transited through the camp near Ruweshid, about 50 km from the Iraqi border.
On Friday morning, there were 436 people being accommodated there. Most are Sudanese or Somali, though there are also some Chadians and Egyptians. No Iraqis have yet crossed the border into Jordan. Those arriving at the camp say that more third country nationals are heading towards the Jordanian border.
Around 20 per cent of those currently in the camp are children. According to Jordan Red Crescent volunteers and International Federation staff, they have detected no serious health problems among those arriving at Ruweshid, though there are a few chest infections.
With night time temperatures falling to zero degrees Celsius, additional supplies of blankets and keorsene have been provided.
All the necessary relief items - tents, blanket, stoves and cooking equipment - are already at the camp. Tents for some 5,000 families are being erected, and basic infrastructure, such as the water and sanitation system, is in place. The camp is staffed by Jordanian Red Crescent volunteers trained in camp management.
Should they be required, more relief items are being held in a warehouse in Amman.
"In case of a crisis, the Jordan Red Crescent will be a first responder," Jordan Red Crescent President, Dr Muhammad Al-Hadid, said. It is envisaged that third-country nationals who arrive at the camp will stay for a maximum of 72 hours. "If, later on, there are Iraqi refugees coming into Jordan, the assistance will be used to accommodate them," al-Hadid said.
The arrival of the first refugees on Thursday came as the Federation launched an emergency appeal for 111 million Swiss francs (US$ 80 million) to help more than 300,000 people in Iraq and neighbouring countries.
In the past weeks, the Federation has pre-positioned relief supplies in Iraq and neighbouring countries in anticipation of population movements provoked by a conflict.
Red Crescent Societies are prepared to assist potential refugees and displaced persons as follows: 55,000 people inside Iraq, 100,000 in Iran, 25,000 in Jordan, 25,000 people in Syria and 80,000 people in Turkey. Kuwait Red Crescent is also on standby to assist displaced people.
In addition, the Federation has put on standby more than 30 emergency teams from across the world, which could provide essential support by setting up field hospitals and water and sanitation facilities as well as providing logistical and telecommunications support.