Egypt Post signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the distribution of the monthly cash assistance to refugees during 2016 through post offices.
Egyptian National Post Organization (ENPO) Chairman Essam Al-Saghir said at least 30,000 refugees can receive cash assistance by using post offices spread across Egypt as institutional mediators that will dispense financial aid. Post offices already possess the requisite capacity to handle cash assistance distribution as, among Egypt’s post offices, there are more than 3,000 computerised offices.
Cash assistance is one of the basic programmes carried out by the UNHCR in Egypt. It assists the most vulnerable groups, who would face undue hardship without social assistance, including: the elderly living alone, families supported by unmarried women, persons with disabilities, and large families.
In their published official figures as of December 2015, UNHCR estimates that there are 228,200 refugees living in Egypt – predominately from regional neighbours Somalia, Sudan, and Syria – 157,200 to whom the UNHCR provides assistance.
In other countries in the region, the UNHCR has introduced iris-scanning technology that relies on biometric data to verify the identity of refugees and to facilitate cash dispersals at ATMs.
Following the influx of Syrian refuges, the UNHCR has increased its operational budget in Egypt. The comprehensive needs for 2015 were estimated at $85.2m.