Massive increase in people seeking refuge at Syrian border put pressure on relief supplies in Turkey

Published: 2 October 2014 11:37 CET

By Andreea Anca, IFRC Europe Zone

Food support is the most pressing need for the Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) as it responds to the tens of thousands of people entering Turkey from Syria. In cooperation with the Turkish authorities, the TRCS has provided bottles of water, energy biscuits, first aid and psychosocial support. The organization has also deployed mobile kitchens and provided over 95,000 meals so far.

In recent weeks, the number of families seeking safety has risen significantly, and the national society is concerned that confrontations in Syrian border towns will dramatically increase the population movement in the near future.

Multiply displaced

Between 19 and 21 September Turkey experienced the biggest influx of refugees since the Syrian crisis began, with almost 70,000 people pouring in the border town of Suruc from the area of Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish) in north-east Syria.

Most recent figures suggest that more than 160,000 people have crossed into Turkey by now, with numbers steadily on the rise. 

Many of those entering Turkey have been displaced multiple times as the region – mostly inhabited by the ethnic Kurdish population – has previously been a destination for those fleeing violence in other parts of Syria.

A great number of the incoming population have found shelter with families and friends.

The society supports the AFAD (the Turkish Disaster Response Agency) and other humanitarian organizations with warehousing and logistical support.

At least one million Syrian refugees live now in Turkey, while the total number of people who fled Syria into neighbouring countries has passed 3 million.

Prior to this latest crisis, the Red Crescent has worked with Turkish authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrians waiting for registration and entry to Turkey.