How World Can Respond to Syria's Refugee Crisis
How World Can Respond to Syria's Refugee Crisis
A Vital Humanitarian Mandate for Syria’s North West
A Vital Humanitarian Mandate for Syria’s North West

How World Can Respond to Syria's Refugee Crisis

What are the conditions like for Syrian refugees?

According to official numbers, Turkey has already received nearly one third of all the Syrian refugees in the region. Around 220,000 of these 720,000 people are in 22 refugee camps in Turkey. The camps have high standards compared to similar shelters around the world; some international experts refer to them as the world’s best refugee camps. In addition to food and shelter, they provide healthcare, schools and other types of assistance. Nonetheless, they are an emergency response, expensive to build and run, and simply not enough to host the continuous inflow. Most of the new arrivals therefore add to a growing “urban Syrian” population inside Turkey; these are officially around 500,000 but unofficial estimates reach one million. Some of them have the means to support themselves financially but most are destitute and in need of assistance.

There are ad-hoc efforts by Turkey’s government and other countries as well as several international and local agencies and NGOs to help them, but these are currently not enough. In the southeastern Turkish provinces along the border, Syrians have a hard time finding accommodation and access to sustained aid. In February, we met new arrivals who had fled the barrel bombings in Aleppo and who were now living out in the open in makeshift tents in Turkey’s border Kilis Province because they couldn’t afford or find housing. Even for people with accommodation, conditions are difficult – we talked to a group of around 20 people living in a bare, one-bedroom apartment with no furniture or heating.

In our report, we recommend that the international donor community and Turkey agree on a housing scheme for the Syrians, where the outside parties fully fund a rent subsidy mechanism through housing vouchers or conditional cash assistance while the Turkish government provides the necessary housing supply. Outside parties can also help by supporting local infrastructure in cities that receive a large influx to make the conditions better for both Syrians and Turks living there. The Syrians in Turkey in general need a better nationwide registration system, which will provide them with identification papers, access to legal rights including employment, full education and social care.

Read the full Q&A on CNN.
 

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