World

Refugee baby boom

Up to 80 Syrian babies are born each week in Jordan refugee camp

Over the last four years, 50 to 80 children have been born each week in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, the United Nations refugee organisation UNHCR estimates.

The camp, which was established in 2012, houses 85,000 refugees from the five-year civil war in Syria, making it the fourth largest "city" in Jordan.

The camp has only two maternity facilities.

One is the Moroccan field hospital, with 60 beds, an operating room and a staff of 118 people. The other clinic, supported by the United Nations (UN), has 24 beds and is staffed by 39 Jordanian gynaecologists, paediatricians, midwives and nurses.

Baby girl Siwar was born on March 7 in a dimly-lit operating room at the Moroccan field hospital. Doctors wearing blue scrubs and white face masks delivered her by caesarean section in a tent sterilised to become fit for operations.

Her mother, Madam Um Rimas, 22, said her greatest sorrow was that her parents had not met their grandchildren.

"It's difficult here. When you're in your country, surrounded by your family, you feel different. I have no one in the camp," she said, her voice faint after the delivery.

PREGNANT AGAIN

Since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011, more than 4.2 million people have fled Syria.

Some 13.5 million need protection and help inside Syria and more than 6 million of them are children, said the UN.

Madam Um Ahmad, 26, who fled the Syrian city of Homs three years ago after her home was destroyed by bombs, is pregnant with her fourth child. This will be the second time she is giving birth in the camp.

She said it saddened her that her children, who spent their early years in Syria, had only fading memories of home.

"When we first came here, they would keep asking me, 'When will we go back?'

"But now they've forgotten, they're busy with playing and school, they don't think about it any more. If we're here for two more years, we might all forget Syria." - Reuters.

RefugeeSyriaUnited Nationsbabies