Formerly the center of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey was established as a republic in the 1920s. Turkey straddles the continents of Europe and Asia and its geographic location allows it a major advantage in the region as it allows for control over the entrance to the Black Sea.
One of the greatest challenges Turkey faces in current times is the 3.7 million (registered) Syrian refugees fleeing their native land due to civil war. In addition, there are approximately 350,000 refugees of other nations, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Somalia. Although some of the refugees live in UN run refugee camps, most live throughout the country in urban and rural environments that are overcrowded and lack work opportunities for refugees to support themselves especially given the recent economic crisis in Turkey.
Supporting a refugee population such as this poses a daunting task for the Turkish government and places added demand on the natural and material resources of the government. Turkey earlier this year stopped providing health care coverage for refugees. Daily life is complicated by overcrowding, rapidly dwindling savings, limited job opportunities, and the trauma from the wars that were fled. Differences in language and culture are further added barriers and hardships.
WCF sponsors monthly Hygiene and Food Care Kits for the most vulnerable refugee (Arabic and Farsi speaking) families affected by COVID-19 Pandemic. For this project we are working with Yalova Lighthouse to provide for 350 families or approximately 2,100 people.
Turkey hosts over 3 million refugees, predominately Syria, and another 350,000 from other nations. Their living conditions, whether in the refugee camp, or urban or rural setting, are oftentimes overcrowded, in addition to lacking sufficient economic opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic does not respect any boundaries and poses a threat to the millions who have already fled their home nations in search of a safety.
Even before the C19 pandemic, many refugees lost their jobs due to the growing economic crisis in Turkey. Since the beginning of the year, Turkey stopped providing health insurance for refugees. Now with the C19 restrictions, almost all of the refugees have lost their jobs and they’re now facing a crisis where families can’t pay their rent, their bills and are dangerously short on food. The Hygiene and Food Care Kits will provide immediate and basic help for their survival.