DRC working hard to address needs of refugees in Turkey fleeing conflict in Tal Abyad

Over 23,000 Syrians and Iraqis have fled their home since June 1, 2015, and crossed the border into Turkey as a result of intensified tension between ISIL and Kurdish fighters. The Danish Refugee Council is present, distributes relief items and offers protection to the refugees.

From Turkey

Akçakale has been a significant entry point for Syrian refugees looking to cross into southern Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2013. In the past 48 hours, the Kurdish fighters edged closer to Tal Abyad within just a few kilometers southeast of the town. The border between Syria and Turkey opened on June 14 and 4,400 individuals entered Turkey, with a further 4,000 on Monday, June 15. Approximately 70 per cent of those fleeing are women and children.

Hala, a 40 year-old women, is one of the Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey as a result of recent clashes, crossing the border 12 days ago with her 10 children, the youngest of whom is 5. Her husband got separated from the family during the crossing, but joined the family later. The family is sleeping outside near the main square in Akçakale as they have nowhere to go. They know some people in Turkey but everyone is already hosting so many families there is no more space for them. Hala was at the DRC distribution site on Monday collecting mattresses, blankets, a hygiene and kitchen kit in order to meet her family’s basic requirements over the coming weeks.

“We learned that yesterday our house was destroyed. We have nothing left. We will stay in Turkey as we cannot go back while the situation is like this in Syria. These items will make us much more comfortable. We arrived here with nothing,” Hala says.

Daly is one of the DRC team members do their utmost to help the newly arrived refugees. She is DRC's Psychosocial Officer, and is standing by the border with 9 year old Rami. Rami crossed into Turkey on Sunday but in the confusion, lost his parents and found himself alone. Another family kept him with them until they saw one of the DRC workers who are monitoring the situation at the border. Dalya made contact with Rami’s parents who are waiting on the other side of the border. She will stay with Rami until he can be reunited with his family.

So far, DRC is one of the very few actors who are responding to the influx and has been among the first to do so. Working with local authorities DRC provides vital relief items such as mattresses, blankets, baby kits, hygiene kits and kitchen kits to the newly arrived refugees who have fled their homes due to conflict. Through child friendly spaces, DRC provides opportunities for children like Ahmed to play games, draw, and tell stories with other children their age.

At the distribution site, newly arrived refugees are also provided with information on services, registration process, and DRC translation hotline (a challenge for Syrian refugees crossing into Turkey is the language barrier). Furthermore, DRC provides basic psychological first aid for those in need.

With continued support from UNHCR, US BPRM and ECHO, DRC is prepared to respond to further influx into Akçakale or elsewhere along the Turkish-Syrian border with its teams of international and national staff whose presence allows for rapid responses and contextualized assistance to the refugees who flee their home due to the conflict in the region.