UNICEF and partners reached almost 150,000 children with child protection and psychosocial support services via a network of 55 safe spaces in 17 provinces – including 12 established in 2017.
More than 610,500 refugee children were enrolled in schools – a 25% increase over the end of the last school year in June. For the first time since the beginning of the crisis in Turkey, more Syrian children (61%) were enrolled in public schools than in temporary education centres.
UNICEF provided NFI and basic needs support to vulnerable refugee, migrant and Turkish families, reaching 34,000 households with cashbased assistance during the winter and distributing hygiene kits to almost 33,500 children and families on the move.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
1,650,119 # of children affected out of
3,789,040 # of people affected
UNICEF 2017 Appeals
Syria Crisis US$ 234.9 million
Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe US$ 2.5 million
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In 2017 Turkey remained home to the largest refugee population in the world as a result of two complex, protracted and closely intertwined humanitarian emergencies. By year-end, almost 3.8 million refugees and asylum-seekers were registered in Turkey, 1.6 million of whom were children. Nearly 3.4 million Syrians – including over 1.5 million children – were under temporary protection in Turkey, in addition to nearly 365,000 refugees mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, of whom some 120,000 were children.
Approximately 30,000 refugees and migrants successfully journeyed by sea from Turkey to Greece in 2017, a six-fold decrease compared to 2016 when the EU-Turkey Statement came into effect. An estimated 37% of those who crossed are believed to be children. According to the Turkish Coast Guard Command, an additional 22,000 people were rescued or apprehended (almost half of whom were children), and 45 are believed to have died in the attempt. Under the framework of the EUTurkey Statement, 50 rounds of returns took place for 684 people, bringing the total number of re-admissions to 1,484 since March 2016. The vast majority (91%) of those returned were men predominantly from South Asia and North Africa, with children and women making up 5% and 9% respectively.
After years of displacement, refugee children and families in Turkey remain extremely vulnerable – particularly in the areas of social protection, education and child protection. According to recent assessments, nearly 67% Syrian refuges live below the poverty line and many in shelters with insufficient WASH facilities and inadequate protection against poor weather.2 In addition, it is estimated that over 350,000 Syrian children remain out of school and face challenges such as lack of awareness about available services, language barriers, socio-economic obstacles, and dropout at the secondary school level.
Refugee and migrant children – particularly those out of school – remain vulnerable to numerous protection risks, including isolation, discrimination, and different forms of exploitation. Years of conflict and displacement continue to have a significant impact on their psycho-social well-being which, if not addressed, will have a long-term negative impact on their development.
Moreover, many vulnerable families struggling to meet their basic needs are increasingly resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as engaging in child labour and child marriage, instead of sending their children to school.
The Government of Turkey continues to lead the overall refugee response and shoulders most of the financial burden –more than US $30 billion to date – enabling increased support to refugees via public services. Nevertheless, despite the significant gains made by the government, UNICEF and other partners on the ground, the scale of the crises continues to place enormous strain on the country’s basic services and infrastructure – particularly in host communities, where 93% of refugees reside. Vulnerable refugee and migrant children and youth in Turkey remain at a crossroads. Together with the government and other partners on the ground, in 2018 UNICEF will continue focusing its efforts to provide them with a better future, and help prevent the loss of a generation of refugee children in Turkey.