Bahrain school compound unaffected by Zaatari camp blaze

March 16, 2013

A school complex built by Bahrain for Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in north Jordan was not affected by the fire that broke out there.

“The Secretary General of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation Ayman Riyadh Al Mufleh has assured us that the schoolchildren were faring well and that the blaze did not reach the compound,” Mustafa Al Sayyed, secretary general of the Royal Charity Foundation, said.

“We were worried about the safety of the students, and we contacted Jordan to make sure they were fine. Fortunately, the fire site was away from the school premises and the students are safe,” he said.

The fire erupted on Friday evening and initial investigations pointed to a gas leak in one of the thousands of tents erected to shelter the refugees from across the border.

The Bahraini compound, the first educational facility to be built at the camp 85 kilometres north of the Jordanian capital includes four schools, 70 classrooms, libraries, laboratories, lavatories and playgrounds for 4,000 Syrian refugee students at the camp.

The compound was inaugurated by Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the head of the Royal Charity Foundation, in November, less than five months after the camp was set up.

The school was an immediate success among young students who said that they wanted to resume their normal lives after losing relatives and fleeing from neighbouring Syria into Jordan.

It also doubled as a shelter for families suffering from the onslaught of the bitter cold that hit the area in winter.

Bahrain also offered caravans to the camp to help the needy families whose tents were torn by howling winds that magnified their misery.

“We have made sure our projects at the camp were in compliance with the directives and standards set by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” Al Sayyed said.

The foundation has been spearheading a movement to assist Syrian refugees. In November, it signed an accord with Turkey to help build a hospital for Syrians seeking refuge in southern Turkey.

It also launched a programme to offer assistance to Somalia through school, hospital and water projects.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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