Turkish disaster agency signs deal with UNHCR

AFAD, UNHCR pen deal to establish center to coordinate efforts for Syrian refugees.

Turkish disaster agency signs deal with UNHCR

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's disaster and emergency management authority, or AFAD, and the UN refugee agency signed a protocol on Monday to jointly establish a center which would register Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war to Turkey and coordinate efforts to provide shelter.

Speaking at the penning ceremony in the Turkish capital, Ankara, AFAD head Fuat Oktay said Turkey has spent nearly $1.5 billion for Syrian refugees whose numbers reached nearly 190,000 plus another estimated 100,000 living in several cities.

Oktay said the mobile coordination center would provide services to Syrians staying outside the refugee camps, adding that the UNHCR and AFAD would jointly fund the $3 million project.

"We have a small, symbolic contribution in this project, which of course is nothing compared with the volume of the project in itself and of the resources that the Turkish state is involving in it. It is a drop of water in an ocean, but also a drop that comes from the heart," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told reporters.

Guterres said UNHCR would be strongly involved as much as possible in Turkish operations with a boosted presence and close cooperation with the Turkish government.

"But I think we need to be humble. Even if we multiply by five what we are doing, it will still be a drop in the ocean of what corresponds today to the enormous efforts of the Turkish government and people," he said.

Guterres also appealed to the international community to establish "a much stronger bilateral cooperation with Turkey" in supporting the Turkish government's efforts.

Last Mod: 11 Mart 2013, 18:06
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