Syria’s refugees – satellite mapping the scale of the crisis.

Syrian refugee camp map

Sometimes a map can explain so much more than a simple photograph.

Since the 25th of May, the United Nations satellite programme – UNOSAT – has published 10 remarkable maps of the vast camps that have sprung up in Jordan as well as in Syria itself.

They give an indication of the tragic scale of the suffering the Syrian people are now facing.

The one above, in Jordan, is vast. The image is provided with this entirely unemotional caption, but one does not need much imagination to understand what life must be like:

“This map illustrates satellite-detected shelters and other buildings at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate, Jordan. As of 21 May 2013 a total of 28,848 shelters were detected as well as 1,638 infrastructure and support buildings within the 530.95 hectares of the camp.”

The UNHCR says there are now nearly half a million Syrians in Jordan.

UNHCR Syrian Refugees

The UN refugee agency believes there are more than 1.6 million ‘persons of concern’ and more than 1.4 million registered Syrian refugees.

On top of this are the vast numbers of Syrians displaced inside their own country, as the fighting intensifies.

The camps in Turkey, Iraq and Egypt have not yet been mapped by the UN’s satellites – so even the maps by UNOSAT are just a drop in the ocean.

The UNHCR says it needs $1.1 billion to cope with the crisis by December – so far just 34% of this funding has been received.

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