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UNHCR’s one-time cash assistance reaches out to some of the most vulnerable urban refugees across Turkey

Story, December 12, 2016

A Syrian refugee is receiving her PTT debit card, giving her the freedom to purchase a vast variety of goods and services to meet the basic needs.
With the temperatures falling, UNHCR has started delivering vital assistance, planning to reach some 510,000 individuals among the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in need across the country, to help them weather the adverse conditions.

Working in cooperation with PTT (Postal and Telegraph Corporation, Turkey), UNHCR has to date provided multi-purpose cash assistance through PTT debit cards, “PTTkart”, to over 260,000 refugees and asylum seekers. The delivery of the cards started on 25 November. The cards can be used with any shop or service provider which is part of the MasterCard circuit network across the country.

Pascale Moreau, UNHCR Turkey Representative, says “The assistance extends refugees and asylum seekers the freedom to purchase a vast variety of goods and services to meet some of their basic needs. Refugees know best what they need. This will help them lead more dignified and normal lives during the dire winter period.”

UNHCR monitoring data demonstrates that beneficiaries who have received their PTT cards have already spent some 90 per cent (around USD 12 million) of the amount provided to them as of 11th December. Having being spend that amount in some 15 days shows how effective and timely is UNHCR cash support for winter time, when refugees are faced with greater hardship in meeting their basic needs.

As part of its annual winter support programme for 2016-2017, UNHCR aims to reach some 510,000 people, through this one-time cash assistance between November 2016 - January 2017. Identifying the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in cooperation with its partners through vulnerability assessments, UNHCR is covering up to 50 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces with highest concentration of refugees. As part of this annual assistance, UNHCR will also provide winter clothing to some 270,000 refugees in camps in close cooperation with Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

The largest host country of refugees worldwide, Turkey hosts around 3 million asylum seekers and refugees, from over 75 nationalities, of whom the vast majority live outside of the camps along with the host community. One of the added value of this cash assistance is that it benefits local businesses and economies, proving an important asset to foster relationships between host and refugee communities.

In coordination with the national authorities particularly the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) which it wishes to thank, UNHCR’s one-time cash assistance programme is funded by generous contributions of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania and USA and implemented in close cooperation with its partners; ASAM, Concern Worldwide, HRDF, IMPR.

For media queries, please contact:

Ms. Selin Ünal, Communication Officer & Spokesperson
Mobile: +90.530.2827862, E-mail: unal@unhcr.org