Syrian refugees living in Turkey face a high risk of diseases due to malnutrition and an inability to access sufficient clean water, according to an article in a health magazine issued by the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Birgun daily reported on Monday.
The article in the latest issue of the magazine, titled “Unsecured Lives: Migration, Immigration, Nutrition, and Health” is written by Zeynep Altin, an attending physician at the Izmir University of Health Sciences Tepecik Training and Research Hospital.
Using data from a field study done with 150,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey by the Association of Bridging People, Altin argued in the article that among the refugees’ most fundamental issues is illness triggered by poor nutrition.
A non-governmental organization protecting refugees rights and freedoms, the association conducted the medical checks and field researches mostly in Turkey’s western Izmir province and at the refugee camp in southeastern Sanliurfa’s border town of Suruc.
According to a news report by Burcu Cansu from Birgun, none of the refugees has a guarantee that they will have access to enough food and clean water the next day.
Underlining that of all the refugees, babies, children, the elderly, women and especially the pregnant, constitute the groups that definitely needed to receive good care, Altin added that the data showed a 45-day-old baby having illnesses related to inadequate nutrition in Izmir’s Torbali district.
Research results indicate that the risk of diseases such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, scabies, pneumonia, bronchitis, and skin infections is on the rise among the Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Due to delays in providing scheduled vaccinations to babies and toddlers, children who are refugees have started to frequently experience illnesses like chickenpox, diptheria, whooping cough, mumps, and tetanus.
It was also reported that sexually transmitted diseases are widely seen among adults.
Altin stated in the article that the study shows 41 Syrian families living in the Basmane town of Izmir and consisting mostly of babies, children, and women, are living in not proper houses but alleys, mosque courtyards, and parking areas.
They, therefore, generally live on only one meal that contains mostly carbohydrates, she explained.
The T24 news portal also reported that a large number of refugee children in Turkey cannot receive an education.
We Want To Live Together initiative, which brings together a variety of activists and human rights groups, has called on United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry to urge Turkish authorities to immediately solve the education problem of refugee children living in Turkey.
The initiative underlined in their call that Turkey’s Ministry of Education violates education rights of the children refugees, especially those who received temporary asylum in other cities but then came to Istanbul and have not been registered there.
The ministry is accused of not allowing schools to enroll children of the families who are currently living in Istanbul but not registered there.
The ministry’s practice reportedly affects an estimated number of at least 350,000 child refugees in Istanbul.
A month after the civil war broke out between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and anti-government rebels in Syria in March 2011, the Turkish government began receiving Syrian refugees with an “open door” policy.
According to an official figure revealed by the Immigration and Integration Sub-committee of Human Rights Commission in the Turkish Parliament, a total of 3,657, 000 Syrians have sought protection in Turkey as of June.
However, Ankara has recently begun taking measures to slow the flow of refugees as part of its new policy, increasing raids in an attempt to deport undocumented refugees, mostly Syrians, living in the country’s largest city and business center Istanbul.