When the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Turkey had an open door policy allowing Syrians to seek refuge in Turkey. By the end of 2015, more than 2.5 million Syrians lived in Turkey - 90% lived outside camps in urban and rural communities, mostly along Turkey’s southeastern border.
The sustained crisis, language differences, and the large number of those seeking international or temporary protection pose unique challenges for humanitarian actors on the ground in Turkey.
In response to these crisis, IOM’s emergency and post-emergency assistance activities in Turkey focus on mitigation, response and recovery, implemented in close coordination with government and humanitarian partners.Since the Syrian emergency preparedness, response, and recovery programs began in 2012, IOM Turkey has assisted over 177,000 Syrians living in Turkey. Our activities focus on meeting both the short-term, immediate needs (such as providing food and non-food items) and medium-term objectives of integration and resilience, like supporting community centers.
Our activities include:
- Non-food items (NFI) and winterization items - Basic items such as blankets, rugs, clothing, coal and stoves provide vital sustenance for individuals most in need.
- Hygiene distribution and promotion - IOM Turkey distributes hygiene kits containing such items as soap, tooth brushes, wash basins, and diapers to Syrians living in southeastern Turkey.
- Food Support –IOM Turkey provides food assistance through food kitchens and voucher programs. In south eastern Turkey, IOM supports three food kitchens in provide a daily hot meal to persons in need. Additionally, IOM provides food vouchers for families to prioritize basic food items for their family.
- Emergency Case Management (ECM) – Building on existing field operations, ECM programs support both individuals and families with specific, complex or multiple assistance needs that are not addressed through existing services or programs. Examples include medical items, transportation, accommodation, food, non-food items and other tailored needs.
- School Transportation – Because geographic distance from schools is often a barrier to education, IOM Turkey provides transportation for thousands of Syrian children to attend schools in southeastern Turkey.
- Transportation assistance – IOM Turkey provides transportation to medical facilities for Syrians living both inside camps and in rural settings.
- Primary Health Care clinics – In Istanbul, IOM Turkey supports a clinic providing medical care to Syrians. Services include general practice, pediatrics, women’s health, internal diseases, medical laboratory analysis and a free pharmacy. A second clinic will be opened in Antakya province.
- Community Centres support – IOM Turkey supports community centres in Istanbul and southeastern Turkey that provide multi-sector support, including informal and formal education, skills and language training for adults, legal counselling and psychosocial support for Syrians. The centres also provide an opportunity for Syrians and host community to come together.