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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© European Union (photographer: Peter Biro)



Situated along the central Mediterranean refugee route, Egypt hosts refugees in some of the poorest neighbourhoods of its largest cities.

Roughly half of the refugees are Syrian, with others mainly from the Horn of Africa, Sudan, and South Sudan. They face the challenges of a protracted refugee situation in an impoverished urban setting.

What are the needs?

Refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt rely heavily on humanitarian assistance. They often reside in overcrowded neighbourhoods, where the host community struggles with substandard living conditions and high unemployment rates.

Some 32.5% of Egyptians live below the national poverty line. According to the UN Refugee Agency, this percentage is even higher among refugees (84%). Access to basic services such as health care and education is extremely challenging for refugees and asylum seekers.

The continued influx of refugees and migrants coincides with Egypt’s worst economic recession in decades. Dramatic price increases for food and utilities are worsening living conditions for the most vulnerable population.

Refugees from African countries also face linguistic barriers, harassment, and discrimination. This further limits their access to formal education and contributes to their marginalisation.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many refugees and asylum seekers have lost their livelihoods and cannot provide for their families or pay rent. The pandemic has also worsened the stigmatisation and discrimination suffered by refugees, especially those of sub-Saharan origin. 

Egypt map

How are we helping?

In 2022, the EU will provide €4.7 million to help the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt. EU humanitarian funding covers 3 main sectors: education in emergencies, basic needs, and protection.

Around 38% of all refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt are children. There has been a sharp increase in unaccompanied minors and separated children among the recent arrivals.

The EU supports activities to provide access to quality formal and non-formal education for refugee children. It seeks to reduce existing educational barriers, whether academic, financial, institutional, or social.  

We also provide cash to refugees in acute vulnerability to cover their basic needs. In addition, through our EU-funded actions, we provide core protection activities.

The support for educational activities focuses on primary and secondary school levels in both public and refugee community schools. The EU also supports coordination activities for the education sector to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance and link it to long-term solutions.

The European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

Of this funding for 2021-22, €1 million is supporting vaccination campaigns for refugees and vulnerable migrants in Egypt.

Last updated: 27/07/2022
Picture: © European Union (photographer: Peter Biro)

Facts & figures

Over 289,000 registered refugees, including:

  • 144,000 Syrians
  • 58,000 Sudanese
  • 22,000 South Sudanese
  • 23,000 Eritreans
  • 16,000 Ethiopians
  • 26,000 from other nationalities
    (UNHCR, June 2022)

EU humanitarian funding:
€4.7 million in 2022.
€32.9 million since 2015

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