Today, the Commission is announcing €26 million in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable refugees and their host communities in Türkiye.
The southeastern region in Türkiye near the Syria border hosts a large number of the country’s refugee population. The same region witnessed one of the worst earthquakes in Türkiye’s modern history, resulting in thousands of deaths, extensive destruction of infrastructure and housing, worsening the situation for many of the already vulnerable refugees.
This new funding will address the most critical humanitarian needs stemming from the aftermath of the earthquakes and the regional refugee crisis.
Out of the €26 million, €4 million is earmarked for education in emergencies. The new funding will also provide protection services to vulnerable communities, like asylum seekers, and people affected by the earthquakes. On top of this, the EU will continue helping refugees with assistance for basic needs such as water, sanitation, hygiene, and specialized health care services.
In close cooperation with Turkish authorities, the EU continues to assist the most vulnerable people in Türkiye based on their humanitarian needs. Since 2015, the EU has supported nearly 100 humanitarian projects, contracted with over 21 partner organisations.
Türkiye currently hosts the largest refugee population in the world, with close to 4 million people. Most refugees live outside camps.
While Türkiye provides registered refugees with access to basic rights and services, the skyrocketing cost of living and lack of access to income opportunities make it increasingly difficult for refugee families to get by.
On 6 February 2023, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude – one of the strongest earthquakes in the region in more than 100 years – struck southeast Türkiye, close to the border with Syria. It was followed by another powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake on the same day. The Government of Türkiye reported over 50,000 deaths and more than 300,000 damaged or destroyed buildings. The humanitarian needs in the earthquake-affected areas remain high.
Protection of vulnerable refugees is one of the EU’s key concerns. EU-funded humanitarian projects in Türkiye are addressing various protection issues, including legal counselling, psychosocial support, access to civil documentation, and access to specialised services. We are supporting continuous registration, identification of persons of concern (such as unaccompanied minors and gender-based violence victims), referrals to state institutions, and specialised protection services including cash for protection.
Under the Facility for Refugees, the EU invested €2.4 billion in humanitarian assistance in Türkiye between 2016-2019. In addition to the projects funded via the Facility, the EU allocated €32.5 million in humanitarian funding between 2012 and 2014 as well as €1.02 billion between 2020 and 2023.