|Syrian refugees walk out of the refugee camp in Kilis. (AFP PHOTO)|
Geneva (AFP) – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched an emergency appeal Monday for 32.3 million Swiss francs ($34.1 million) to help up to 170,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey.
“The Turkish Red Crescent Society is extending its existing response to prepare for the onset of winter and to increase its assistance to up to 170,000 displaced people over the coming months,” the IFRC said in a statement.
The extra cash was expected to last for six months, Simon Eccleshall, IFRC head of disaster and crisis management, told reporters in Geneva.
He acknowledged though that it was “not unimaginable that [the emergency aid] figure will need to increase,” adding: “We will be regularly revising contingency plans [and perhaps] the emergency appeal.”
“The numbers are significant in Turkey,” he said, pointing out that as of November 5, 110,649 Syrians were registered in camps in Turkey – more than double the number in July.
Turkey currently counts 14 camps, all but one of which are tent camps, and three others are under construction to accommodate the steady influx, according to the IFRC.
The extra aid would go to providing winter assistance to the around 100,000 camp-dwellers, as well as emergency food and non-food assistance to up to 20,000 people at the Turkish-Syrian border, Eccleshall said.
“The number of people congregating on the Syrian side of the border fluctuates day to day,” he said.
He pointed out that the Turkish Red Crescent would assist only people on the Turkish side, but that since the border was “quite open” many Syrians crossed over to pick up aid before heading back to their towns or villages in Syria.
Contingency stocks for an extra 50,000 people were also included in the appeal, he said.
The emergency appeal would especially focus on providing cooking stoves, heaters, blankets and other winter items for Syrian refugees in the country as the cold sets in, as well as food and blankets to the people at the border, IFRC said.
At the end of last week, the UN’s refugee agency said some 11,000 Syrians had fled to neighbouring countries in the space of just 24 hours – 9,000 of them to Turkey.
Counting that mass exodus, more than 408,000 Syrians have now been registered as refugees in neighbouring countries, according to the UNHCR.
The UN expects that number to soar to more than 700,000 by early next year.
More than 37,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising erupted in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.