European Union shelling out billions in cash benefits to Syrian refugees in Turkey

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A European Union (EU) official claims an estimated 850,000 people are currently benefiting from an EU-funded project that provides cash assistance to disadvantaged refugee families in Turkey, according to multiple reports.

The EU program, touted as a humanitarian program, provides debit cards to refugee families to purchase food and other basic needs. It also allows them to withdraw money from ATMs.

It was launched in 2016 after the EU pledged 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to help Syrian migrants in Turkey in return for Turkish assistance in curbing illegal migration to Europe, reports Breitbart.

The program is backed by the European Union and implemented by the Turkish Red Crescent, according to European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) in Turkey.

It seeks to assist roughly 1.3 million refugees by the end of the year, according to Jane Lewis, head of the EU humanitarian aid office in Turkey.

“As of this month, over 850,000 refugees under temporary international protection will be receiving the card and receiving the monthly transfer,” Lewis told reporters Saturday. “We hope that by September, we’ll have a million people under the program. However, the actual target is 1.314 million, depending on who is eligible to receive the card.”

Lewis also noted that the monthly transfer for each refugee had increased from 100 Turkish liras (equivalent to $26 US dollars) to 120 Turkish liras per month since the program was implemented.

The initial allocation of funds is only expected to last Turkey until the end of 2017, although officials are eyeing the possibility of it being extended.

As of present, Turkey’s cost of hosting and sheltering a massive influx of Syrian refugees has exceeded $25 billion, with no sign of slowing down.

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