Qabr Essit refugee camp

24 November 2009

Qabr Essit camp, 15km from Damascus, is near the town of Sayyedeh Zeinab (granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad).

Women on street

Her shrine is at a mosque in the town and is a site of pilgrimage. This camp was established in 1948, but the majority of the residents came in 1967.

Qabr Essit was established on an area of 0.02 square kilometres. The inhabitants, who were displaced from the Quneitra Governorate in the Golan Heights during the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, sought refuge for the second time in their lives in Qabr Essit. Most had originally fled to the Golan Heights in 1948 from nearby villages in northern Palestine.

Most of the refugees work as casual labourers or street vendors.

There is a high incidence of inherited diseases such as thalassaemia and sickle-cell anaemia, which are difficult to combat in a poor community where marriage between first cousins is common. Marrying outside the extended family is unaffordable for many.

Poor sanitation is a major problem in the camp, and there is a relatively high incidence of illnesses associated with poor environmental health conditions. The sewerage system is antiquated and requires upgrading to cope with the demands of an increasing refugee population.

Statistics

  • More than 23,700 registered refugees
  • Four double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Qabr Essit demographic profile

Programmes in the camp

Major problems

  • Water problems
  • Overcrowded households
  • High number of school dropouts
  • Health problems because of intermarriage