The European Union has approved sending Turkey €485 million for ensuring urgent humanitarian aid to refugees.
The funding now cleared by both the Council and the European Parliament will allow the European Union to extend two flagship humanitarian programmes in Turkey until the end of 2021, which enable over 1.7 million refugees to meet their basic needs and more than 600,000 children to go to school.
These programs have been running as part of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal, meant to stop irregular refugee flows to the EU and improve the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
“The EU will support refugees in Turkey as long as the humanitarian needs persist. This new funding shows our deep concern for the most vulnerable, especially now that the coronavirus has further exacerbated their already dire situation,” Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said.
“Thanks to the partnership between humanitarian organisations, the Turkish authorities and the EU, our humanitarian programmes help refugees to meet their basic needs and preserve their dignity,” he added.
One of the programmes – the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) – is providing over 1.7 million refugees with monthly cash assistance. This is the largest EU-funded humanitarian programme ever.
The largest EU-funded humanitarian education programme – Conditional Cash Transfers for Education (CCTE) – provides support to families whose children attend school regularly. It now enables over 600,000 refugee children to go to school.
All programmes receiving EU humanitarian support are implemented by UN agencies, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and NGOs.
Turkey hosts more than 4 million refugees, with 70 percent of them children and women. The majority of refugees in Turkey live outside camps. Some 3.6 million of the refugee population are Syrians who fled the ongoing conflict.