The Baqa'a refugee camp (Arabic: البقعة) is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, and it is one of the six “emergency” camps that were established in 1968 with the aim of accommodating Palestinian refugees and displaced persons who left the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Location[change | change source]
The camp is located on the northwestern border of the Jordanian capital, Amman, 20 kilometers north of Amman on the “Amman-Irbid” road, near the Sweileh area. It is affiliated with the Ain Al-Basha in the Balqa Governorate.
History[change | change source]
In the period between June 1967 and February 1968, refugees and displaced persons were accommodated in temporary camps in the Jordan Valley area, but they were transferred when military operations escalated in the area.
When al-Baqa'a camp was established, it was a large camp, with 5,000 tents designated to accommodate 26,000 refugees over an area of 1.4 square kilometres. Between 1969 and 1971, UNRWA replaced the tents with a total of 8,000 pre-built houses in order to protect people from the harsh winter conditions in Jordan. Since then, most of the residents have built stronger and more durable concrete housing.
The land of the camp is owned by the Al-Wareikat (Al-Adwan) clan, and the Jordanian government leased it to UNRWA. In 1950, UNRWA set up tents for the displaced in the areas called "Palestinian camps" on government land and private land leased or acquired by the Jordanian government from its owners. The camp is surrounded by agricultural lands irrigated by groundwater. In the eighties, the Baqa’a basin was classified as the second largest area in agricultural production after the Jordan Valley, where there were approximately 5,000 greenhouses, but now, after legalizing the use of groundwater, it has become the fifth area in agricultural production.