Turkey and Syria Earthquakes

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in the House of Commons at on 14 March 2023.

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Photo of Mark Menzies Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde

What steps his Department is taking to support those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

UK aid ranging from search and rescue to tents to medical care has helped thousands of survivors in Turkey and Syria, and more than 9,000 patients have been treated by UK medical teams as of 7 March.

Photo of Mark Menzies Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde

Last night I was honoured to speak to members of the British-Turkish community to learn about the ongoing aid effort to help those impacted by the disaster. I was also fortunate to visit Gaziantep in 2019 with our late friend Sir David Amess, where I met families displaced by the war in Syria. It is heartbreaking to see so many of these people having to rebuild their lives once again. Will my right hon. Friend commit to ensuring this Government’s efforts go beyond initial disaster relief and provide long-term support for those in the region to rebuild their lives, their homes and their businesses?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

Since the Syria crisis began, as my hon. Friend knows, Britain has contributed something like £3.8 billion, which is more than the whole European Union has provided added together. We will certainly focus on that. For now, the British taxpayer has found £43 million and the Disasters Emergency Committee has raised £100 million. All across the country, people are responding magnificently to this crisis. In my constituency, the Sutton Coldfield chamber choir will be playing at a concert at St Columba’s church on Saturday night to raise money for Turkish victims.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

More than 850,000 children remain displaced after the earthquake that hit in early February, with many of these children now in temporary shelters. What discussions have Ministers had with Turkish officials to ensure that all is done to return children to a place of safety, to locate their families and to educate them?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

The hon. Gentleman is right on all counts. Immediately after the crisis, Education Cannot Wait allocated $7 million to try to ensure that children, particularly those out of school, could get back into education. We will continue with our efforts to ensure people who suffered so much from the earthquake are remedied in every way we can.