Mar 13 2013
The Prince of Wales described the plight of Syrian refugees as "heartbreaking" as he toured a camp near the border of the civil war torn nation.
The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall were greeted by United Nations staff at the King Abdullah Park camp in Jordan, which is home to just under 1,000 people who have fled the two-year-old conflict.
Speaking at the refugee camp HQ, Charles said he had been struck by the generosity of the Jordanian people.
"Many of these children have been traumatised by the horrors of what they've witnessed before they got here," he said. "Some of them have lost their parents and had horrendous experiences and it is remarkable what all these wonderful NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are doing to deal with this unbelievable and heartbreaking situation.
"In some ways children are quite adaptable and resilient but at the same time one of their teachers was telling me that just looking at trees reminded them of where they have been. The hope is that they will get back there again. I think the great thing that's come out of this is just how unbelievably generous the Jordanian people are, who are truly remarkable I think.
"They've managed to cope with and deal with all these hundreds of thousands of refugees and it's very nearly the second anniversary. It's a desperate situation and the Jordanian people are so fantastic. The generosity is extraordinary but it's putting more and more strain on food and hospitals so clearly the Jordanians need more assistance and help to be able to cope with this immense challenge."
Camilla said she too had found the experience quite heartbreaking. "Seeing all these children, some of them have lost their parents and been adopted by others, I feel it is quite heartbreaking," she said. "They are doing a fantastic job."
Charles and Camilla visited a craft skills training centre for women and children. They then went to a nursery where around 20 children sat around tables and sang songs to them. The camp is run by the United Nations, Unicef and Save the Children.
Save the Children's chief executive, Justin Forsyth, welcomed the royal couple's visit to the camp. "Their presence will help publicise the plight of the one million refugees - half of them children - who have had to flee their homes to escape the war," he said. "There are still two million children inside Syria. If action is not taken soon to bring this conflict to an end, the physical and mental harm done to them could irreparably damage a generation of children."
The King Abdullah Park camp is currently home to 921 refugees, Unicef said, of whom 529 are aged under 18. Every day, 250 of them are attending a local Jordanian state school, it said. The UN agency and the Jordanian ministry of health are also undertaking a vaccination programme against polio and measles and ensuring sanitation in the camps to keep diseases at bay. The children are also given counselling to help them recover from the trauma of being in a war zone.