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EU activates 'Refugee Facility' to help more than 800 000 Syrians in Turkey

A Syrian mother with her child who fled to Turkey. They are now beneficiaries of EU-funded food assistance. © European Union/ECHO/Caroline Gluck

The European Commission has today announced the first funding allocation to activate the 'Refugee Facility for Turkey', a multi-billion fund which will support humanitarian aid and development projects for refugees residing in Turkey.

Of the total €95 million released today, €40 million is humanitarian aid contracted to the UN World Food Programme while €55 million will go towards education for children in Turkey.

"We've been providing humanitarian aid to refugees in Turkey since the beginning of the crisis and the new Refugee Facility allows us to deliver more and better aid. The new €40 million in humanitarian aid we are providing to the World Food Programme will help to reach 735 000 Syrian refugees with food aid," said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

The European Commission's €40 million contract with the World Food Programme, working in close cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent, is the first humanitarian aid contract to be announced under the 'Refugee Facility for Turkey'. It is one of the largest single contracts ever between the World Food Programme and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department for implementation in one country.  

Through the contract, refugees will receive e-cards which enable them to buy food at designated shops. The European Commission is working closely with the Turkish authorities, UN agencies and other humanitarian actors to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable refugees. The World Food Programme is among the major partners in the European Commission's humanitarian response both inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries.

The €55 million assistance in the form of neighbourhood funding announced today will allow 110 000 Syrian children in Turkey to attend school this current academic year. The assistance will be disbursed to UNICEF through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis.

The EU has supported Turkey since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis with €350 million. The funding provided through the Refugee Facility will significantly scale up the EU's assistance to the country over the next two years.

Background

The 'Refugee Facility for Turkey' provides a joint coordination mechanism for actions financed by the EU budget and national contributions made by the Member States, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner in Turkey. The EU has committed up to €3 billion over two years to fund the Facility.

Its geographical position makes Turkey a major first reception and transit country for refugees and migrants. The country is hosting more than 3.1 million registered refugees. Turkey is making commendable efforts to provide massive humanitarian aid and support to an unprecedented and continuously increasing influx of people seeking refuge and has already spent more than €7 billion of its own resources on addressing this crisis.

Publication date
04/03/2016