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Middle East

Blaze kills family in Jordan refugee camp

Syrian family of seven killed when gas heater started a fire in their hut in a camp in northern Jordan.
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2013 03:14

Seven members of a family of Syrian refugees were killed when fire broke out in their prefabricated hut in a refugee camp in northern Jordan, officials said.

The fire was started by a gas heater, officials said. The hut was located in a public park being used for refugees in the border town of Ramtha, near the border with Syria.

"The fire spread quickly to floor mattresses, where the refugee family was sleeping, killing all its members," said Colonel Fareed Sharaa, a spokesman for Jordan's civil defence.

At least three other people were reportedly injured in the fire, the latest tragedy to befall tens of thousands who fled the violence in Syria only to face difficult winter conditions on the border.

Abu Mohammed, a relative of the victims, blamed their deaths on the poor living conditions in the camp.

"What happened today has never happened anywhere in the world. It's true that this is God's will, but there is a reason, [and] the reason is an electrical short," he said. "We have been suffering for four months from the officials in the camp."

More than 200,000 Syrian refugees are now living in towns and cities across Jordan. The largest refugee camp, at Zaatari, houses at least 50,000.

An unusually bitter winter, accompanied by driving snow and rain last week, some of the worst in the region in years, has raised concern for the plight of both Syrian refugees and displaced people within Syria.

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