Turkey + 2 more

UNHCR Turkey Operational Update, April 2020

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Key Figures (as of 28 April 2020)

4 million refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey including almost 3.6 million Syrian nationals and close to 330,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers of other nationalities. Over 98% of Syrian refugees live across Turkey in 81 provinces

330,000 COVID-19-related posters, leaflets and booklets printed by UNHCR in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Health and distributed

60,000 followers and likes of UNHCR’s Communication with Communities Facebook Page

Communication with Communities

The UNHCR Counselling Line has been operating in full teleworking mode since 23 March with 34 operators. Until 30 April, the line answered a total number of 13,059 calls without interruption in service. In April alone, 8,814 calls were answered with a 97 per cent answer rate for queued calls, providing counselling on services, procedures, referrals and existing support mechanisms, and more specifically providing temporary and international protection status holders access to the Government’s messaging on COVID-19 in different languages, as well as related information and counselling. In April, the calls were generally related to financial assistance, resettlement and assistance for persons with specific needs. The Refugee Call Centre in Sanliurfa answered 237 calls in April. Most queries were about financial support and social assistance.

Through its main digital communication platform, Help, UNHCR continues to share information about rights, obligations and available services with persons of concern. Help provides information to refugees across a range of themes, from registration and documentation to education and livelihoods. In Turkey, Help is available in four languages (English, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi). In April, the Help website got 42,562 users and 130,330 views.

UNHCR’s followers continue to grow on the Facebook page, known as the UNHCR Turkey Information Board, with approximately 60,000 followers and likes. UNHCR doubled its Facebook posts in April, reaching 70 posts including four videos reaching around 1,300,000 people. The posts on, and replies to, refugee queries were predominantly COVID-19 related.

The Services Advisor platform continues to be updated with information to serve refugees better during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the pandemic was declared and mitigation measures announced, services which were being provided remotely were identified and marked accordingly, and agencies providing specific services to alleviate the negative impact of COVID-19 on refugees were contacted to include their services in the platform. Some 23 partners (out of 79) in 284 locations changed to remote service provision, while 10 partners added services to minimize the impact of COVID-19. The majority of these services are awareness-raising, counselling, psychosocial support and referrals. In April alone 4,963 new users visited the platform.

A dedicated tab on COVID-19 was created on the Help website, which contained important announcements, resources and useful links in four languages (English, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi). A dedicated tab on education was added within the COVID tab as a resource for students and parents. UNHCR also produced 330,000 COVID-19-related posters, leaflets and booklets printed by UNHCR in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The materials were distributed to UNHCR, partners, Provincial Directorates of Migration Management in 81 provinces and the Ministry of Health.

A designated UNHCR Turkey WhatsApp Communications Tree was created to facilitate rapid information-sharing between UNHCR and refugees and asylum seekers through its focal points and partners. The tree is in Arabic and Farsi and managed by UNHCR, UNHCR focal points in each field location, partner focal points, linked to WhatsApp groups run by refugee committees and communities or partners who can receive the key messages. By the end of April, UNHCR was able to reach 8,216 persons through the WhatsApp tree.

UNHCR also cooperated with the communications team of ‘’Your Guide in Turkey’’, a website that provides information on living in Turkey to Syrians and other Arabic speakers. The information, which is posted on six Facebook pages managed by the team, has more than 400,000 followers.