Turkey to Host Landmark World Humanitarian Summit

Turkey will play host to the ground-breaking World Humanitarian Summit, the first such summit of its kind, on May 23-24, in Istanbul.

The summit to address humanitarian problems will bring world leaders together to agree on a package of practical steps ahead.

The summit, spearheaded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and organized by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), is aimed at discussing humanitarian issues in detail.

Turkey is currently home to the world’s largest refugee population, and it has spent $10 billion on the refugee crises on its soil since 2011.

Turkey is well prepared for the high-profile summit, which will see up to 5,000 participants, including statesmen, businessman, NGOs, international agencies, and representatives of communities affected by refuge crises.

The global humanitarian charity system has failed to properly meet the consequences of humanitarian crises stemming from ongoing conflicts, war, rising economic inequality, and resources shortages. Some 80 percent of such crises spring from armed conflict and lead to mass immigration and epidemic diseases, which strain the international system.

Humanitarian crises taking place anywhere in the world have the potential to affect neighboring countries. For this reason, international agents should act ethically to improve aid capacity in line with their responsibilities.

Towards this end, the summit will suggest to countries sustainable policies and measures to address shortcomings and difficulties in the humanitarian system.

Turkey will share its experience with handling humanitarian aid and emergency crises at the summit. Meanwhile, visitors can follow the summit at its website, www.dizturkiye.org.

Turkey, as one of the world's leading humanitarian donors, is hosting almost 3 million refuges fleeing warzone regions and conflict, including 2.7 million Syrian refugees, according to official statistics.

Turkey’s successful provision of humanitarian and emergency aid is thanks to the hard work of several institutions, especially the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), and the Turkish Red Crescent, or Kizilay.

Turkey’s official development aid supplies to more than 140 countries across the globe totals in the billions of dollars. TIKA has 52 coordination offices around the world in charge of development and humanitarian aid.

Turkey’s development aid provided via TİKA more than quadrupled from $85 million in 2002 to $3.59 billion in 2014.

Over the same period, total humanitarian aid from Turkey increased 47 percent to $6.4 billion, a rise of 42-fold.

Breaking the figures down regionally, $2.5 billion in aid was supplied to the Middle East, $455 million to the Caucasians, $383 million to Africa, $134 million to the Balkans/Eastern Europe, $26 million to the Far East, $4.5 million to the Americas, and half a million dollars to Oceania.

In 2014, development aid of $1.7 billion was allocated to the most urgent humanitarian category, while $1.5 billion was supplied to the least-developed countries.

In the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranking of aid allocated, Turkey came in second with $2.42 billion following the U.S., but in terms of aid as a percentage of its gross national product (GDP), it came in first.

According to preliminary figures, in 2015 Turkey’s official development aid reached $3.91 billion.

TIKA drilled over 1,000 water wells in 2013-2014, including 423 in Asia and 337 in Africa. TIKA also provided over 250 health centers with equipment in 2011-2014, boosting the number of health personnel to 3,000, medical supply stores to 170, and ambulances to 79.

It has also supplied refrigerators, ovens, eating/cooking utensils, and food packages to refugees fleeing Daesh terrorism living in camps in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk, Erbil, Dohuk and nearby areas.

It also launched an emergency campaign for Somali, which suffers from drought, supplying food and healthcare equipment. TIKA also reached remote areas in Pakistan and Myanmar’s Arakan state. When Pakistan was hit by an earthquake two years ago, 12,000 food packages were supplied to victims of the quake. TIKA also runs charity activities in Palestine and helped Palestinians following an Israeli attack on Gaza.

AFAD reaches 40+ countries in four continents

One of the fastest and most effective humanitarian aid delivery public institutions, AFAD is a public body for intervening in emergencies in a great many countries, from Ukraine to Somalia, and was the first aid provider to arrive in the earthquake zone in Nepal last year.

AFAD also single-handedly coordinates all services for Syrians taking shelter in Turkey from the Syrian civil war.

With its innovative and human-centered attitude in emergency cases, AFAD provides aid for people affected by earthquakes, floods, drought, fire, and internal disorder in more than 40 countries across four continents.

In addition to humanitarian aid, AFAD provides education, healthcare, and social services at 26 shelter centers for Syrians, meeting the refugees’ physical, social, and psychological needs.

AFAD data shows that the total number of refugees in camps is nearly 282,000, including 272,000 Syrians.

In healthcare, since 2011 at the shelters, ambulatory care services have been provided over 5 million times.

Some 9.46 million people have been provided hospital care.

According to hospital data, over 480,000 people received in-patient treatment and over 325,000 medical operations.

Nearly 152,000 Syrian refugee babies came into the world in Turkey.

Additionally, nearly 79,000 students have received education at 1,211 classes in the camps.

In the camps, some 7,000 children attended preschool, 43,000 primary school, 20,000 secondary school, and 9,000 high school.

The number of Syrian students in Turkey, including public schools, is 325,000.

Meanwhile, nearly 14,000 adults have received education in 300 ongoing courses.

Additionally, some 62,000 Syrians completed their studies in 2,000 courses started previously.

Kizilay no. 2 worldwide in emergency shelter and food

With its long history in Turkey, the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) aid charity has almost 700 branches.

Its capacity makes it one of the strongest members of the international Red Crescent/Red Cross Association federation.

With the ability to arrive at disaster scenes in Turkey within two hours at most, Kizilay provides disaster victims with psychological and social support.

In addition to its staff of almost 3,000, it boast 17 regional blood centers and 64 blood centers and mobile blood donation vehicles.

With this large network, the Turkish Red Crescent collected nearly 2 million units of donated blood last year.

By the end of 2015, through its Turkok project, it registered 105,000 volunteer stem cell donors.

With its large logistical capacity to meet people’s needs after humanitarian crises, the Turkish Red Crescent is number two in world rankings with its ability to provide emergency shelter and food for 300,000 people.

Carrying out humanitarian aid activities in countries and regions such as Pakistan, Chad, Haiti, Libya, Somalia, Arakan, Palestine, Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Philippines, Iraq and Lebanon, the Turkish Red Crescent was also the first relief organization to help disaster victims after the Pakistan floods.

In Pakistan, still the greatest humanitarian aid operation in its history, the Turkish Red Crescent brought its capacity-building project into action.

Anadolu Agency correspondents Ahmet Sait Akcay and Can Erozden contributed to this story from Ankara.