Russian engineers have erected the first tent camp inside Syria to house thousands of refugees fleeing violence in the east of the country, Russia Today reported. Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, more than 4 million people have been displaced, causing Europe to experience one of the biggest refugee crises since the end of World War II.
The camp is located on a racetrack in the western city of Hama, 25 miles from the nearest conflict zone. Despite forces of Syria's authoritarian President Bashar Assad having suffered defeats at the hands of the Islamic State militant group and other insurgent fighters in recent months, the city is thought to be safer now after Russian forces began arriving in the country.
“We appreciate Russia’s help in delivering all the necessary equipment and setting up a camp. With the given situation, Syria is in great need for camps like this to accommodate displaced citizens leaving provinces with active warfare ongoing,” Hama Gov. Ghassan Khalaf told Russia Today.
The camp is made up of about 25 large military tents that can accommodate 500 refugees. It has a field kitchen, a canteen, showers, two mobile power generators and a water-storage facility. The tents have furnace heating for cold weather.
The camp is able to double in size should more refugees come to the city.
“I learned how to operate a Russian field kitchen really quickly and have already cooked some Russian cereal. The camp’s kitchen is capable of cooking food for 200 people at a time," Red Crescent Society volunteer Anan Musri told RT. “When we run out of food stock, our organization will continue supplying provisions and assist the refugees."
All the supplies needed to set up the camp were delivered to Latakia Airport last week by an Antonov An-124 Ruslan jet. The flight also brought 15 tons of provisions to feed 50 people for 30 days, and 50,000 sets of disposable tableware.