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UN food relief agency and partner to roll out €348 million EU cash aid to refugees in Turkey

8 September 2016 – Following the European Union's (EU)announcement today of a cash-transfer programme for the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has said the agency and the Turkish Red Crescent will use their combined expertise to deliver the cash directly to those who need it most.

"This €348 million will make a major difference to the lives of one million people. It will lessen the suffering but also restore some normality to children, women and men whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict and displacement," said the WFP's Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, in a statement.

The programme, known as the Emergency Social Safety Net, is the largest-ever single humanitarian aid project financed by the EU, according to a fact sheet issued by the European Commission, which also noted that the most vulnerable among the three million refugees in Turkey will receive an electronic card, to which money transfers will be made monthly.

Ms. Cousin said that since Turkey has robust and well-functioning markets, it makes sense to give cash that refugees can use to pay for food, rent and medicine, and buy warm clothes as winter approaches. It will also enable children to go to school rather than to work.

"With support from the European Union and its member states, we will help the most vulnerable as they make crucial, everyday life decisions," she said in the statement.

"WFP and the Turkish Red Crescent will use their combined expertise to deliver European cash directly to those who need it most," she added. "We will work closely with the Government of Turkey, and the money spent by the refugees will go directly into local economies, giving a boost to communities so generously hosting refugees."

WFP has been working in Turkey since 2012, supporting the government to bring vital help to Syrian refugees.

According to the European Commission, EU humanitarian aid is in principle intended for the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis, whether they are Syrian or non-Syrian, registered as refugees or not. Whilst the monthly cash-transfer under this programme will reach the most vulnerable families among registered Syrian refugees in Turkey, a referral system will be put in place to address the needs of other persons of concern, too.

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