European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Turkey by UNICEF Sebastian Rich
© UNICEF/Sebastian Rich

The number of refugees in Turkey has reached over 3.7 million, making Turkey the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. About 94% of Syrian refugees in Turkey remain outside of camp settings with limited, but growing access to basic services. The EU has contracted 45 humanitarian projects with 19 humanitarian organisations, which are working in close cooperation with Turkish partner organisations to provide support to the most vulnerable refugees.

What are the needs?

Over 3.7 million registered refugees live in Turkey; they include Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, and Somalis among others. Out of these, almost 230 000 people are hosted in 21 camps run by the  Turkish authorities, where refugees have access to shelter, health, education, food and social activities.

Most Syrian refugees as well as many refugees from other nationalities live outside the camps, under very challenging circumstances with depleted resources. Registered refugees have access to public services, including education and healthcare. However, for many refugees, access to these basic facilities is often difficult for various reasons, including problems in registering with local authorities and the language barrier.

Map Turkey
How are we helping?

The EU contracted projects under the €3 billion Facility to deliver efficient and complementary support to Syrian and other refugees and host communities in close cooperation with Turkish authorities from the period of 2016 to 2017. The Facility is funded from both the EU budget and contributions of Member States.

The total humanitarian funding provided by the EU to support refugees in Turkey through the Facility is €1.4 billion. The Facility's flagship humanitarian programme is the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), a social assistance scheme that will allow up to 1.3 million of the most vulnerable refugees to meet their most pressing basic needs. With financing of €998 million from the EU the implementing partner the World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkish government institutions, is distributing debit cards to members of refugee families through which payments are made directly. As of January 2018, the ESSN has reached over 1.1 million beneficiaries. It is the largest single humanitarian project in the history of the EU.

Building on the ESSN, the European Union funds the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) project in Turkey, in partnership with UNICEF. The EU commitment of €84 million funds bi-monthly cash transfers to vulnerable refugee families whose children attend school regularly. The project also includes a child protection component to ensure refugee children continue to attend school and that they receive complementary child protection services when needed. The CCTE will support up to 230 000 children. These projects are complemented by a series of other aid projects in the sectors of protection, non-formal education and primary, secondary and specialised health care services that have been launched in 2016 and 2017.

Altogether 45 humanitarian projects have been contracted with 19 humanitarian organisations which are working in close cooperation with Turkish organisations to provide refugees and vulnerable people with assistance including protection, cash transfers, and health and education services. These projects complement the EU’s non-humanitarian assistance under the Facility, which focuses on education, health, migration management, municipal infrastructure and socioeconomic support. This is channelled through the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).

Learn more about EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey

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