Monday, December 24, 2012

EU provides EUR 25 million to assist Turkey with the Syrian refugees

The EU has, collectively, allocated over EUR 313 million in humanitarian aid to respond to the critical needs of the population affected by the crisis in Syria and the needs of host communities.
Turkey is shouldering a significant burden in welcoming now more than 145.000 Syrian refugees in the camps that have been established along the border, seeking refuge from the violence and insecurity prevalent in their own country.   This burden is particularly acute given the protracted nature of the crisis.  The EU appreciates that, in addition, Turkey is hosting a significant number of Syrian citizens outside the camps.
In response to a request from Turkey, and in consequence of the significant needs of the refugee population, the EU has taken a decision to increase its assistance specifically for Turkey by an amount of the order of EUR 25 million:
  • The EU has established a Regional Support Programme for populations affected by the crisis in Syria.   Within the overall budget foreseen for the programme, EUR 8.2 million is to be allocated to Turkey, where the EU will work with UNICEF and UNHCR with the aim of helping the authorities and local communities address the consequences of the crisis.
  • The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) is to make available EUR 4 million for Turkey, in addition to the EUR 1 million already provided to UNHCR.  ECHO will work with UNHCR and the Turkish Red Crescent Society to disburse these funds, with a particular focus on meeting the needs resulting from the onset of winter.
  • The European Commission is preparing a further package of EUR 13 million for Turkey under pre-accession assistance. Details of the measures are being discussed with relevant ministries, AFAD and partners, and their concrete proposals and input will be key for the EU to be able to spend this amount.

In addition, ECHO has since October posted an expert within the EU Delegation to Turkey in order to liaise ever more closely with the Turkish authorities on humanitarian assistance matters.  The EU Civil Protection Assistance Mechanism has been mobilised in response to the crisis in Syria, and several Participating States have provided significant numbers of tents, blankets, bed sheets and kitchen sets.