Life as a Syrian refugee: A look inside the world’s second largest refugee camp

Martha Raddatz, Richard Coolidge & Jordyn Phelps
Power Players
Life as a Syrian refugee: A look inside the world’s second largest refugee camp

On The Radar

Well over a million people have fled Syria to escape the war, and as more people continue to seek safety in refugee camps in bordering countries, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says it is a challenge to meet the Syrian refugees’ “basic needs” and “ensure their dignity.”

In an exclusive interview with On The Radar during his visit to the largest Syrian refugee camp in Jordan—now the second largest camp in the world—High Commissioner António Guterres says the Zaatari camp is “a place in the world where human tragedy is more evident than anywhere else.”

“Here you can see how brutal the conflict has been, how dramatic the situation of the people is, and how difficult it is for us all to be able to support them to ensure their dignity,” Guterres tells On The Radar.

Actress and a special envoy for the U.N. Refugee Agency Angelina Jolie joined Guterres at the Zaatari camp to highlight the humanitarian crisis, saying “every 14 seconds someone crosses Syria's border and becomes a refugee…and more than half of them are children.“

Guterres recalls a young girl he recently met at the camp who was “deeply wounded by the explosion of a bomb” and says one of the difficult consequences of the conflict is “to see the children so deeply traumatized.”

“To see their drawings of bombs planes explosions, people killing each other, I mean the level of suffering this population the whole generation that is impacted by war and traumatized by violence is something that Syria will pay for many, many years,” he says.

Guterres characterizes the Syrian war as “the most dangerous conflict we've had since the end of the Cold War.”

“It's not only Syria itself; it’s the risk of spill over into Lebanon and Iraq,” Guterres says. “Syria is a detonator for many conflicts in the region, and I would say a global threat to peace and security.”

For more of the interview with Guterres, and to hear what percent of Lebanon’s population is now composed of Syrian refugees, check out this episode of On The Radar.

ABC's Brian Hartman, Eric Wray, Alexandra Dukakis, Michael Conte, and Nicky DeBlois contributed to this episode.