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EU to give money to refugees in Turkey for food, housing

Associated Press Associated Press 8/09/2016
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, regarding the financing of a humanitarian aid program to help refugees in Turkey on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) © The Associated Press European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, regarding the financing of a humanitarian aid program to help refugees in Turkey on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS — The European Union will begin next month providing money to refugees in Turkey so they can pay for their own food, housing and education.

The EU's executive arm announced Thursday that under the 348 million euro ($393 million) program debit cards will be distributed to up to one million vulnerable refugees by the first quarter of 2017.

The cards can be topped up monthly, with payments dependent on the size and needs of families. The European Commission says safeguards are in place to ensure the money is correctly spent.

Turkey is home to an estimated three million refugees. The program is part of an agreement the EU has with Turkey to provide up to six billion euros, fast-track membership talks and visa-free travel if Ankara stops migrants heading to Europe.

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