A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
The conflict in Syria has been the largest and most complex humanitarian crisis in the world resulting in internal and external displacement; the loss of thousands of lives; and severe damage to infrastructure, roads, buildings and livelihoods. After 10 years of conflict, over five million Syrian people have been displaced to neighbouring countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and, other countries in North Africa. Turkey started to receive large number of refugees from Syria shortly after the outbreak of the crisis in 2011. The total number of Syrian refugees accommodated in 14 camps were already over 100,000 in late 2012. An Emergency Appeal (EA) was launched to assist people in Turkey displaced by the Syria and other neighbouring crises for six months, focusing on camps and TurkeySyria border areas. By the end of 2016, the number of camps increased to 23 and the number of refugees within camps to over 250,000, with more than 2,5 million residing in urban areas. Needs assessments identified urgent needs for psychosocial support and orientation (information) services for Syrian refugees living in urban areas outside camps.
People seeking protection formally had access to social, economic and health services but faced obstacles to have full access, such as a stagnating economy, language barriers in the education system, overstretched health services, and housing cost inflation. During this second phase of the Appeal starting in 2016, the activity focus gradually shifted from provision of relief items mainly to meet urgent needs towards meeting longer term needs of both refugees and their host communities. The set-up of various Community Centres in Turkey’s most populated provinces where majority of the refugee communities reside has helped offering complex services in various sectors including protection, livelihoods, health, education, PSS and social cohesion. In 2020, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions exacerbated the needs and vulnerabilities of refugees living in Turkey, leading to a loss of employment, a deterioration of the socio-economic situation, and an impact on the physical and psychological health of people. While most of the COVID-19 related response was conducted under the global IFRC COVID-19 appeal, activities under this appeal adapted to the change in needs and operational context.
As of July 2021, Turkey continued to host more than 3.74 million refugees, of whom Syrians registered under Temporary Protection comprise some 99%, with the rest including nationals from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other countries registered under International Protection. Some 54,074 Syrian refugees1 currently live in seven government-run temporary accommodation centres (camps) with access to shelter, food, education, health and social services, though this continues to reduce as camps throughout the country are gradually being closed. The remaining 3.63 million or so reside in congested urban areas, often under challenging circumstances and with scarce resources, despite commendable humanitarian assistance efforts by the Turkish government authorities.
According to the Turkey’s Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), 98.5% of the Syrian refugee population continues to live in urban areas throughout the country, with the majority in Istanbul (14.31%), followed by Gaziantep (12.28%), Hatay (11.82%) and Şanlıurfa (11.50%), comprising some 49.91% of all Syrian refugees registered in Turkey in these four cities alone.
The 10 cities above alone host over 78% of all Syrian refugees in Turkey. Other cities which house high numbers of the refugee population include Ankara, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Osmaniye, Diyarbakır, Malatya,
Adıyaman, and Batman. Cumulatively, all these 20 cities are currently home to some 99% of 3.69 million refugees under Temporary Protection in Turkey3 .
For the operations in the camps and along the border areas in the early years of the Appeal, need assessments were conducted continuously by the teams deployed to the field, which in turn informed the volume and type of the assistance to be provided. Needs in the early stages were listed as shelter, health, food, and basic relief items and under AFAD’s coordination the TRCS focused on immediate food and basic household needs in the camps. WFP supported the TRCS implemented food component through a cash for food e-card modality.
A baseline survey carried out in Sanliurfa in the first quarter 2015 identified the need for a shift towards livelihoods opportunities and a longer-term approach, with people expressing the wish to being able to work in order to self-support their families, to learn Turkish in order to access work and integrate, have access to education for their children but also preserving their language and culture; and to create spaces for children and adults to gather and socialize safely, while also addressing the stress from displacement through psychosocial support.
Taking into account the need of Syrians to better integrate into community and social customs, a key topic with other humanitarian actors and authorities has been considering the needs of the host communities in areas where Syrians have settled. At the same time, the stigmatization and social acceptance of displaced people are better addressed alongside the rights and opportunities of local people. Need assessments and baseline studies were conducted prior to opening of community centres for the later years and for longer term needs. The studies aimed to provide better understanding of specific vulnerabilities, needs and priority areas, challenges in integration and labour market situation in the respective locations. In 2017, a MADAD country level Baseline Survey was conducted in Turkey. Timely conducted beneficiary satisfaction surveys and evaluation exercises together with regularly held focus group discussions (FGDs) also informed programming as needed. For example, as per feedback from supported people, more advanced Turkish language courses including vocational language trainings were offered starting from 2017.
Mainly in cooperation with universities, Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR) conducted regular labour market analysis for major cities of Turkey. The findings from these analyses, together with TRCS’ own collection of field data and coordination with ISKUR, helped the National Society to plan its livelihood activities for the refugee and host communities in a way to address the existing needs of the labour market in the early years of the programme in 2017 and 2018. As a follow up to the recommendations from the MADAD Mid-term review (September 2018) and the EUTF Results-oriented Monitoring (October 2018), TRCS started conducting robust local labour market analyses to determine existing livelihoods needs related to refugee and host communities in cooperation with local ISKUR and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB) prior to technical and vocational training provision in each location, with an aim to enhance further the overall employability of refugee and host communities in the Turkish labour market. The analyses included an update on the main economic indicators of the cities’ labour market; demographic and socio-economic profiles of the beneficiaries under review; labour conditions and Turkish employers’ approach towards hiring refugees under temporary protection and international protection, potential stakeholders and cooperation initiatives in the field as well as labour market demands and vacancies for refugees and host community members. As part of the response to the findings, the National Society adjusted its livelihoods programmes to incorporate agriculture and livestock-rearing skills for refugee and host community members at different locations in Turkey. This included an expansion of existing agricultural training courses conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF) Provincial Agricultural Directorates. Topics per location were chosen according to sectoral needs determined by the Directorates and/or by the Chambers of Commerce in the respective provinces.