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Commissioner Stylianides in Turkey to launch largest ever EU humanitarian aid programme

Commissioner Christos Stylianides speaking at the launch of the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) in Ankara, Turkey. ©EU/ECHO

Today in Ankara, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has launched the EU's flagship humanitarian aid programme, which is set to provide a monthly electronic cash grant to benefit 1 million refugees in Turkey. The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) aid project has an initial budget of €348 million and will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay), in close collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

Speaking in Ankara, Commissioner Stylianides said "I'm confident that EU humanitarian aid will make a real difference for refugees in Turkey, helping one million people. The launch of our new programme here in Turkey today is a clear example of the strong partnership of the EU and Turkey in finding together new innovative ways to address one of the most important humanitarian challenges of our times."

Commissioner Stylianides took part in the official launch of the ESSN alongside WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

The Commissioner is also visiting EU humanitarian projects funded under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, including a Community Center for Syrian refugees run by the Turkish Red Crescent and a Child Protection Support Center supported by the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers (ASAM) and UNICEF.

As of October 2016, monthly cash-transfers to electronic cards will be given to refugees in need across Turkey. The cash card is an efficient way of supporting families in purchasing what they most need, providing them the dignity of choice. Refugees will be empowered to feed and house their families, and to send their children to school. As the money will be spent in local markets, the new system will also boost the local economy.  

The much needed humanitarian aid will reach one million refugees countrywide by the first quarter of 2017.

To ensure funding is well spent, the aid project will be carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), a long standing EU humanitarian partner with a track record of successfully implementing large-scale relief projects. WFP will work hand in hand with the Turkish Red Crescent.

The European Commission will work in close partnership with the implementing organisations and rigorously monitor the EU-funded projects to ensure efficiency and maximum humanitarian impact.

/echo/file/emergency-social-safety-net_enThe Emergency Social Safety Net


The ESSN is funded by the EU and its Member States under the €3 billion “Facility for Refugees in Turkey” with the goal to provide assistance to refugees and host communities in Turkey. It is designed to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.

In addition to the ESSN, the EU is already funding humanitarian projects worth €164 million in Turkey. To date, the total amount contracted for humanitarian and non-humanitarian actions under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey stands at €652 million. Out of this, €467 million has already been distributed.

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