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The EU’s biggest humanitarian programme supports 1.5 million refugees in Turkey

“The European Union, in cooperation with Turkey, is bringing a real change in the lives of the most vulnerable refugees,” said Commissioner Stylianides during a visit to Turkey. © EU 2018

The ESSN programme, launched in September 2016, is the largest single humanitarian project in the history of the European Union.

Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, visiting Turkey for the occasion said: "1.5 million refugees in Turkey are now able to meet their basic needs and live in dignity. The European Union, in cooperation with Turkey, is bringing a real change in the lives of the most vulnerable refugees. I am very proud of what we have achieved together. Jointly with Turkey we will continue this support, focusing on making our assistance sustainable."

EU humanitarian assistance in Turkey continues to deliver tangible results for the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey. The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), launched in September 2016, provides monthly cash transfers via a debit card to help refugees buy what they need the most, such as food, medicines, or paying the rent.

The ESSN programme is implemented by the World Food Programme and the Turkish Red Crescent in close collaboration with the Turkish authorities. With financing from the EU of almost €1 billion to date, the refugees receive around €20 per person per month, plus quarterly top-ups to meet their basic needs.

Another flagship programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education, has surpassed its initial goals and now supports the families of more than 410 000 children who attend school regularly.

The EU programmes will continue in 2019, with a focus on continuing support to the most vulnerable and ensuring a sustainable transition from humanitarian aid to a long-term response. The EU humanitarian funding foreseen for 2019 is €640 million, out of which €80 million will be dedicated to support education in emergencies. This funding is part of the second tranche of €3 billion of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey for both humanitarian and non-humanitarian assistance.

Publication date
07/01/2019