Toby Perkins – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for International Development

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Toby Perkins on 2015-12-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what preparations the Government is making to provide food and shelter to refugees overseas during the winter.

Mr Desmond Swayne

For many internally displaced Syrians and refugees in the region this will be the fifth winter away from their homes in inadequate shelter. DFID is supporting implementing partners to prepare and respond to the onset of winter across Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. In the FY 2015/16 we have provided £221 million for their emergency programmes. Of this total £12.9 million has been committed for specific winter response activities such as the provision of warm clothing, thermal blankets, fuel and cash to support thousands of vulnerable families across the region. Inside Syria, UN agencies supported by the UK are providing assistance in the form of warm clothes, blankets, supplies to help weatherproof houses, and providing influenza vaccinations for those who are most susceptible. Elsewhere in the region, the UN are complementing the provision of goods with distributions of cash to vulnerable refugees and other vulnerable people, to allow them the choice on how to prioritise their winter needs.

In addition to our bilateral programming, the UK is providing £35m of unearmarked flexible funding in 2015/16 to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which can be used to support winterisation across its global caseload.

The UK has also responded rapidly to the humanitarian needs of refugees in Europe. For example, the UK has provided in-kind assistance of blankets, sleeping bags and tents through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to ensure refugees and migrants are provided with warmth and comfort during the winter. The UK’s total support for refugees and migrants to address the Mediterranean migration crisis is nearly £25m, of which nearly £16 million is being spent in Europe.