20 June 2015, World Refugee Day: The World Food Programme (WFP) is committed to the millions of Syrians caught up in a conflict in its fifth year. As needs grow we now have to prioritise assistance to many refugees outside Syria, like those in Turkey, so the most vulnerable are protected. Working with our partners, we are doing our utmost so that we don’t lose a generation to war and extremism. Initiatives like the school feeding pilot in Syria can help restore a sense of normal life for the most vulnerable.
Story by Jennifer Vargas Photos by Berna Cetin
1) There are over 60 million refugees in the world today, at least half are children.
2) The Syria refugee crisis is the largest displacement of people of our time.
3) The Syria refugee crisis began in May 2011. Currently, half of Syria’s pre-war population is displaced. Nearly eight million are within Syria and four million have fled to neighbouring countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey to seek safety.
4) Millions of men, women and children have steadily crossed these borders. However, the flow increases during times of crisis. In late September 2014, heavy fighting in Kobani/Ayn al-Arab forced 200,000 people to cross the border into Suruc, Turkey - 150,000 crossed within a span of three days.
5) Turkey is now the largest host of Syrian refugees in the region and also the largest host of refugees in the world. Currently there are nearly two million Syrians in Turkey. This number is projected to reach 2.5 million by the end of 2015 (according to the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) which was developed to address the humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the conflict).
6) WFP is the largest humanitarian agency in the world. WFP’s mandate focuses on fighting hunger and providing life-saving food to 80 million people in 82 countries. WFP provides food every month to nearly six million people in need in Syria and the region.
7) WFP, in partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay), launched the Electronic Food Card Programme in October 2012.
8) Out of nearly two million Syrian refugees, over 250,000 live in 25 refugee camps - the rest live in urban centres around the country.
9) Currently, WFP Turkey only has enough funding to reach 154,000 refugees in 11 camps on a monthly basis. The Turkish government provides food assistance to the rest of the camp populations. In fact, the government estimates it has spent US$5.5 billion on its refugee response.
10) In the near future WFP and its partner, the Turkish Red Crescent, will expand the E-Food Card Programme in Turkey to assist Syrians living in cities.
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