European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Turkey by Eren Aygün
© EU/Eren Aygün

The number of refugees in Turkey has reached over 4 million, making Turkey the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. Over 95 percent of Syrian refugees in Turkey remain outside of camps with limited but growing access to basic services. The EU has contracted 58 humanitarian projects with 20 humanitarian organisations, which are working in close cooperation with Turkish partner organisations to help the most vulnerable refugees.

What are the needs?

More than 4 million registered refugees live in Turkey, including Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, and Somalis among others. Out of these, around 137 000 people are hosted in camps, where refugees have access to shelter, health, education, food, and social activities.

Most Syrian refugees and 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 language barrier.

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How are we helping?

The European Union funds humanitarian projects to help Syrian and other refugees and host communities in close cooperation with Turkish authorities. The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey is funded from both the EU budget and contributions from EU Member States.

The EU humanitarian funding to support refugees in Turkey through the Facility is €1.4 billion between 2016-2017, and a further €690 million allocated so far under the second tranche of the Facility in 2018-2019. This brings the total amount of humanitarian funding already allocated under the Facility to €2.09 billion. The Facility's flagship humanitarian programme is the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), a social assistance scheme that allows the most vulnerable refugees to meet their most pressing basic needs. With financing of close to €1 billion from the EU, the implementing partner the World Food Programme (WFP) - in collaboration with the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkish government institutions - distributes debit cards to refugee families through which refugees can purchase what is most needed for them. As of April 2019, the ESSN assists more than 1.6 million beneficiaries. It is the largest single humanitarian project in the history of the EU.

Building on the ESSN, the European Union has funded the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) project in partnership with UNICEF since the beginning of 2017. The EU contribution 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 receive complementary child protection services when needed. By April 2019, the CCTE had supported over  494 000 children who attended school regularly. These projects are complemented by a number of other humanitarian aid projects addressing protection issues, providing non-formal education, and specialised health care services.

Altogether 58 humanitarian projects have been contracted with 20 humanitarian organisations to help refugees and vulnerable people. These projects complement the EU’s non-humanitarian assistance under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, 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.

Learn more about EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

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