Photo Gallery: Refuge on the Sixth Floor

April 30, 2013

Urban Refugees in Jordan
Photos  © UNHCR / Brian Sokol


For most people, the word “refugees” brings to mind an image of thousands of people, living in row upon row of tents, inside a sprawling emergency camp in the countryside.

But the reality today is that more than half of the world’s refugees live in urban areas, where they face many challenges and where it is more difficult for UNHCR to provide them with protection and assistance.

That’s the case in Jordan, where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have bypassed camps near the border and sought shelter in towns and cities like Amman, the nation’s capital.

The UN refugee agency is providing cash support to some 11,000 Syrian refugee families in Jordan’s urban areas, but a funding shortage is preventing UNHCR from providing any more.

This photo set follows eight families living on the sixth floor of a nondescript building in Amman. All of the families fled Syria in search of safety and some need medical care. The images were taken as winter was descending on the city. They show what it is like to face the cold and poverty, and they also depict the isolation of being a stranger in a strange land.

The identities of the refugees are masked at their request and their names have been changed. The longer the Syria crisis remains unresolved, the longer their ordeal – and that of more than 1.4 million other refugees in Jordan and other countries in the region.


If you’d like to support UNHCR’s aid to displaced Syrians, learn 10 ways that anyone can take action.