EU launches program to issue cash cards to migrants in Turkey

Tuesday, 2016-09-27 19:26:04
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A Syrian boy gestures as his friends play video games at the Harran refugee camp in the Sanliurfa province, Turkey, June 6, 2016. (Credit: Reuters)
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The European Union launched a program on Monday to issue monthly electronic cash grants to benefit a million refugees in Turkey, as part of a deal under which Ankara will curb the numbers trying to enter Europe.

The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) will give refugees pre-paid cards for food, housing, schooling or medical expenses in Turkey.

Earlier this year, EU countries approved a fund of 3 billion euros (US$3.37 billion) to help Turkey improve living conditions for some 3 million Syrian migrants on its territory. The ESSN is part of that deal.

More than a million migrants entered the European Union after crossing from Turkey to Greece by boat last year. Since Turkey agreed to prevent people from setting sail from its shores, the numbers taking that route have fallen dramatically.

The ESSN will be implemented by the World Food Programme and the Turkish Red Crescent, in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency.