The inspiring upheavals of the Arab Spring have, unfortunately, also been accompanied by humanitarian crises. But in Turkey, 3M systems have helped refugees quickly find their families, food, and medicine.
“I visited the camp in May. People arrived with nothing, absolutely nothing. Some were injured. Some arrived by bus. Others had crossed a river at night and arrived wet and freezing.”
- Bahar Öztan Pakkan
Business Leader, 3M Turkey
Over 115,000 refugees have fled to Turkey, escaping the violence in Syria. Another 50,000 are estimated to have reached other countries. It’s a challenge to quickly provide food, water, medicine, and other services to the refugees.
1 Source: “As of today, 114,944 Syrian Citizen Housing Centers Are Available.” AFAD. Press Release. November 12, 2012.
2 Source: “Record numbers of Syrian refugees flee as UN warns of critically low funding.” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. November 9, 2012.
“There will be 2,060 container homes set up for accommodation. We are providing for all […] needs spanning from education to food, from sports to security. We are providing preschool education for 805 students in 35 classes.”
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister of Turkey
Source: “PM Erdoğan addresses Syrians in Kilis camp.” Sabah. May 7, 2012.
The refugees often arrive in Turkey with no identification. Amid the chaos, this may seem like a small thing, but it’s actually a major barrier to knowing how much help is needed—and who needs it most. And with thousands crossing the border, how could Turkish officials efficiently count and identify each refugee?
Biometrics are security measures based on the unique features of a person’s body. They are generally stronger than passwords or keys. That’s why 3M’s Matt Pepe and his team had been working on ways to adapt biometric systems to new and different situations.
Every security need is different. Since 2010, 3M has brought biometrics to situations all over the world—from Jamaica, to Haiti, to Ghana, and elsewhere. Governments, law enforcement agencies, and commercial enterprises have worked with us to solve a vast array of problems, ranging from voter identification to border control.
Having solved security problems around the world with biometrics, the 3M team knew they could move fast and help address the unique challenges in Turkey. They determined that fingerprinting was the best option. It was secure and, appropriate for this chaotic situation, quick and efficient. They immediately set to work creating a customized solution using 3M technology to meet the camps’ needs.
When refugees enter a camp, their fingerprints are scanned quickly using a first-of-its-kind 3M Cogent system. This is used to create a photo ID that can be crosschecked against the fingerprint. The ID is used to access camp services, get meals and blankets, see doctors, and even find family who might be scattered among different camps.
“The 3M Cogent system helps the Turkish government track refugees, know what they need, and deliver supplies and services efficiently to the right place at the right time.”
- Bahar Öztan Pakkan
It can only be hoped that the conflict will be resolved peacefully and quickly, allowing the refugees to return home soon. In the meantime, systems like this will help reduce the difficulties they face—a safe haven today that could mean hope for tomorrow.
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