UNHCR mourns death of seven Syrian refugees killed in Jordan fire

News Stories, 17 January 2013

© UNHCR/S.Malkawi
A Syrian refugee prepares coffee in housing near the Jordanian town of Ramtha. Wednesday's tragic fire took place near Ramtha.

GENEVA, January 17 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency today expressed its sadness at the death of seven Syrian refugees in a fire at a transit centre in the Jordanian border town of Ramtha. Six of the dead were children.

A UNHCR press release from Geneva said the victims were all members of the same family and were sleeping in prefabricated housing when it was engulfed by fire on Wednesday night. Four survivors were rushed from the King Abdullah Park transit centre to the nearest hospital, where they are being treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

"Initial investigations by the local authorities indicate that the fire was started by a kerosene heater," said the statement, which added that the King Abdullah Park transit centre hosts more than 900 Syrian refugees, all staying in prefabricated shelters.

"These deaths are heartbreaking for the humanitarian community in Jordan. The loss of children was particularly tragic," the press release said.

UNHCR and its partners in Jordan have regular fire-awareness campaigns in all transit camps in Jordan, as well as at the main camp at Za'atri. Jordan is hosting more than 185,000 Syrians registered as refugees or waiting to be registered. Some 58,000 of them, or about a third, are living in camps.