A group of about 20,000 Syrian refugees living outdoors have access to electricity as of Wednesday thanks to a newly constructed solar plant in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. It?s the first and only solar-powered refugee camp in the world.
?Each family can now connect a fridge, a TV, a fan, have light inside the shelter and charge their phones, which is critical for refugees to keep in contact with their relatives abroad,? the U.N.?s refugee agency, UNHCR, said in a statement.
UNHCR built the 2-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant farm in collaboration with the IKEA Foundation?s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, which provided the funding, according to the statement.
Azraq is located in the desert region of northern Jordan. Its population of about 54,000 people has only had sporadic access to power since the camp was constructed in 2014, UNHCR added. The only source of electricity has come from solar lanterns.
?Lighting up the camp is not only a symbolic achievement; it provides a safer environment for all camp residents, opens up livelihoods opportunities, and gives children the chance to study after dark,? said Kelly T. Clements, UNHCR deputy high commissioner. ?Above all, it allows all residents of the camps to lead more dignified lives.?
Working with groups affected by climate change is central to the IKEA Foundation?s mission, CEO Per Heggenes told HuffPost. ?Having access to energy is about having a purpose in life,? he said.