More than 1.3M benefit from Turkish Red Crescent cards

New target is to reach 1.5M refugees in successful card-based aid program, says head of Turkey's Red Crescent

More than 1.3M benefit from Turkish Red Crescent cards

World Bulletin / News Desk

More than 1.3 million refugees in Turkey are benefiting from debit cards issued by the Turkish Red Crescent, also known as Kizilay, as part of the UN-backed Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) program.

Turkish Red Crescent head Kerem Kinik said Kizilay had been working to respond to humanitarian crises and alleviate human suffering for seven years, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. 

"The ESSN, which is the largest humanitarian multi-purpose cash program globally, is one of the projects we have carried out for the refugees in Turkey in partnership with World Food Program or WFP," Kinik said late Wednesday.

Launched in late 2016 as part of the ESSN humanitarian assistance program, the Kizilay Card is a special debit card for refugees registered by the regional migration office directorate. 

Under the program, each refugee is given 120 Turkish liras ($28) a month, and they can withdraw money from state lender Halkbank's ATMs.

According to Kinik, to date over 1.3 million people and 223,000 households have benefitted from the Kizilay card, but they hope to go higher. 

"Our initial target was to reach 1.3 million and we've already achieved it, now the new targeted number of beneficiaries is 1.5 million," Kinik said. 

Kinik stated that the program is currently set to be implemented through the end of January 2019, but talks to extend it for two more years are ongoing in Brussels.

"This is a success story. We are working to systematize this success story and make it widespread across the world," Kinik said.

According to UN figures, Turkey currently hosts the highest number of refugees in the world: 3.9 million people, including 3.5 million Syrians.

Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

While 230,000 refugees live in camps located in the southeast, the majority live in cities and towns across the country. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mayıs 2018, 12:07