Mar 27 2018

Aid workers say EU Syrian refugee cash distribution a success in Turkey

Some 1.25 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are benefitting from an EU-funded project that helps to ease the burden on the state by distributing debit cards with prepaid cash allowances to families, The Guardian said.

“While Turkish-EU relations remain tense around funding, aid workers on the ground are working with the state authorities and hailing a revolutionary model in the way cash can be delivered on a large scale,” the newspaper said.

“Eligible families receive 120 TL (£21.42) a month per person, meaning a couple with four children would typically get 720 TL.”

The programme is being administered by the World Food Programme, the European Commission, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish government, and only those refugees who are out of work benefit from the allowance.

It has been used to give refugees extra incentives to send their children to school regularly, and the financial stimulus also helps the wider community around them.

The newspaper quoted Jonathan Campbell, Turkey’s deputy country director at WFP, as saying that it was one of the most efficient aid programmes in the world.

“This year we have €650 million funding and we can guarantee that a minimum of 87.5% will go into the pockets of refugees,” he said.

However, the continuation of the project beyond 2019 requires the European Union to continue to find the money.

“We need to be very responsible about what happens next,” said Jane Lewis, the European Commission’s humanitarian chief in Ankara.

“This is a group of highly traumatised people who will need the support of Turkey and Europe for many years.”