Not since the horror of World War II has the planet seen a forced migration the size of the Syrian diaspora that began three years ago when seemingly innocuous government protests escalated into a bloody civil war. The subsequent implosion has left 9 million Syrians displaced, 2.5 million of whom have fled across borders into neighboring countries as refugees.
The Kingdom of Jordan has taken in over 600,000 Syrians since the fighting began, struggling to house the unanticipated numbers of new arrivals in refugee camps whose resources have been pushed well beyond their limits. An estimated 80% of the Syrians in Jordan have hunkered down outside camps, fending for themselves to avoid the poor conditions and detainment associated with camp life. The tradeoff: Outside the camps, Syrians have less access to the aid on offer and are more susceptible to the unsavory forces attracted to those in positions of desperate need.
Wherever Syrians have found themselves, in addition to having lost their homes and their livelihoods, they’re saddled with the emotional traumas inflicted by witnessing their communities destroyed and families and friends senselessly murdered. While proving challenging beyond all initial estimates, the difficulty of providing logistical solutions to their influx will pale in comparison to the greater long-term task of healing these deep wounds.