Al Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan – to compare with to compare with how it looked nearer the start of the conflict

Zak asked for images of the Jordanian refugee camp that houses over 80 000 Syrian refugees, saying “I think people would be shocked to see the size of the camp and just how many people have been forced to leave their homes.” He had researched the history of the camp and conditions inside it so wanted to see how it has grown over the last few years saying “approximately 80 babies are born a day in the camp, so it is expanding rapidly.” He noted that “many children in the camp say they want to be engineers, lawyers, carpenters and other important careers, in order to rebuild Syria. People want to return to their home. I would hope that if a photo was taken in the same place in 5 years’ time the camp wouldn’t be there because the refugees would have been able to return home.”

The crew of Expedition 48 took a photograph of the area in June especially for Zak, and we have supplied him with a satellite image of the same region in June 2013, when the camp had been established for only a year.* Although the boundaries of the camp were established early in its history, it is possible to see that some areas weren’t densely settled at the time of the first picture. Comparing the two images also shows how the surrounding area has changed as a result of the war and the influx of people fleeing their homes.


*He did request July 2012, as the camp was being set up, a key EO satellite in orbit at the time (Landsat 7) was experiencing technical difficulties which means that the data it sent back could only produce poor images.