EU-funded cash scheme reaches 1 mn refugees in Turkey-WFP

Partnership with Ankara, Red Crescent

(ANSA) - Rome, October 17 - The Rome-based United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said Tuesday that a groundbreaking European Union-funded programme is providing monthly cash assistance that is helping around one million refugees in Turkey, most of them from war-torn Syria.
    The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme provides refugee families with debit cards to cover their basic needs such as food, rent, medicine and clothes. The cards can be used to withdraw cash from an automated teller machine (ATM), or to purchase items in shops like any other debit card.
    Monitoring over the first year of ESSN shows that families spend their cash assistance primarily on food, utilities and rent. The ESSN programme is a partnership between the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the WFP, the Turkish Red Crescent, and the Turkish Government. "Life was hard before we got this card," said Macide, a Syrian refugee who lives in Hatay with her husband and children.
    "But now we're getting by. Now, we can pay the rent, the bills and buy food every month." It is currently the biggest cash assistance operation for refugees anywhere in the world.
    "Today is a milestone for the life-changing results achieved by our biggest ever aid programme; and for the EU delivering on its commitments to Turkey," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. "We have made a difference for a staggering 1 million people already. With the commitment and work of our partners, the impact of the programme grows by the day. "Turkey continues to host the largest refugee population in the world. It is our humanitarian and moral duty to help refugees that have fled war and persecution".


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