Prime Minister Harper to wrap Mideast visit with tour of refugee camp in Jordan - InfoNews

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Prime Minister Harper to wrap Mideast visit with tour of refugee camp in Jordan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen Harper visit Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan on Friday, January 24, 2014. While in the Middle East Harper is visiting Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
January 23, 2014 - 11:06 PM

AMMAN, Jordan - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing to go from the splendour of a presidential palace to the squalor of a massive refugee camp.

Harper, on the final day of his visit to Israel and Jordan, will tour the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, just 12 kilometres from the Syrian border.

The camp has grown to more than 8,075 square kilometres since it was created in July 2012 for Syrians fleeing the ongoing civil war in their country.

The latest count shows about 125,000 people crammed into an area that Time Magazine has described as the size of nearly 1,000 American football fields.

Demographically, close to 55 per cent of camp residents are children, while 42 per cent of the families in Za’atari are headed by women.

On Thursday in Amman, Harper announced an additional $100 million in funding to help Jordan deal with the influx of Syrians. He said an additional $4.7 million would be allocated to help children from Syria receive basic education.

While at King Abdullah's palace Thursday, the monarch told Harper he was grateful for Canada’s help.

“Your leadership standing by Jordan and the challenges that we have been facing is something that I continue to commend,” he said.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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