Ahmad from Syria receives new arrival assistance in Turkey



From Turkey

Ahmad and his family arrived in Kilis province in south-central Turkey early this year leaving behind a destroyed house in Aleppo and a married daughter. “We came to Turkey because our house got destroyed and we have nothing left. But the most important was not to lose my children,” Ahmad says.

With funding support from the Humanitarian Aid and Civil protection (ECHO), Ahmad’s family is part of the group of newcomers, DRC has assisted during a Non-Food Item (NFI) distribution in late January. Assisted by a close relative already in place, they had just moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the top floor of a building in the city of Kilis. Ahmad, his wife and their six children, aged 7 to 17, were sleeping on the floor in an unfurnished home until DRC provided them with mattresses, blankets, kitchen set and other utilities to cover basic needs. Joined by his wife and two of his daughters, Ahmad welcomes DRC in his new home. A third daughter sleeps covered in one of the blankets. We are told she is sick.

A furniture seller back home, Ahmad is struggling to find work in Kilis to support his family and cover current rent costs. Both him and his wife suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and, except for Ahmed’s latest dentist consultation, they have not been able to see any other doctor since they arrived in Turkey.

Although Syrian refugee doctors are providing free health care, it is clearly insufficient to cover the needs of the growing refugee population. “I had to wait two full days there to be treated by the dentist”, Ahmad says. Seeking advice, Ahmad shows us medication whose instructions are written in Turkish. Medication is costly and the language barrier also hampers access to regular treatment.

“We cannot plan to go back to Syria because we lost our house there. We will move somewhere else in Turkey if we find work there,” Ahmed continues.

In collaboration with the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD), DRC carried out a first distribution to Syrian refugees living in non-camp settings in Kilis in January 2014. “Over the course of our time in Kilis, we have developed a relationship based on trust with AFAD”, says Simon Le Tocq, DRC’s Distribution Manager.

Ahmet Bey, an AFAD staff member, stressed the importance of having AFAD’s participation, both as an observer and a facilitator, in the assessment exercise, and witnessed the good performance of DRC. “DRC staff are very friendly and well prepared to listen to the refugees’ needs, and are able reach the most vulnerable," Ahmet Bey says.

“Many of the Syrian newcomers crossing into Turkey are in critical need of the most basic assistance to survive in a new place - having exhausted their own resources in Syria. Coordinating closely with local authorities and AFAD, DRC is proud to be able to contribute in any way possible to ease some of the difficulties families face in adjusting to a new context,” says Sarah Saleh, DRC’s Country Director.