Humanitarian Crisis: Greece

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:20 pm on 2nd March 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Secretary of State for International Development 1:20 pm, 2nd March 2016

I am delighted to be here to respond to the urgent question.

A situation of humanitarian concern is unfolding in Greece. There are reportedly approximately 10,000 people at the border between Greece and Macedonia. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that around 24,000 people—maybe more—are stranded across Greece. Greek authorities have established two camps at the border with a projected total capacity of 12,500, but crowded conditions are putting pressure on delivering essential support to people.

The UK is already providing nearly £55 million to the Mediterranean migration crisis response. This includes essential supplies such as blankets, sleeping mats and tents, as well as support through non-governmental organisations and UN agencies. The UK has established a new refugee children fund for Europe, which will meet the specific need of unaccompanied and separated children.

We should of course remember that the vast majority of Syrians who have fled Syria are in countries neighbouring Syria. That is why the UK continues to be at the forefront of the response to the crisis in the region. The recent London conference on Syria raised more than $11 billion with the Prime Minister announcing that the UK will more than double our total pledge to the Syria crisis from £1.12 billion to more than £2.3 billion. As part of this, we are working in partnership with host countries such as Jordan and Lebanon to help them expand job and education opportunities for refugees in a way that will enable them to better support themselves and give them hope for the future where they are.

The UK is working across the EU to ensure that a humanitarian crisis is averted and that the most vulnerable people are protected and provided with shelter. We are monitoring the situation closely. We stand ready to meet other priority needs and are sending a team to Greece to assess the situation.