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£300k to help refugees in Europe

Published: 1 Oct 2015 13:11

Humanitarian funding to help the most vulnerable arriving in Europe.

The Scottish Government will provide £300,000 of humanitarian assistance to the many thousands of vulnerable refugees arriving on mainland Europe.

The aid funding will be divided mainly between the British Red Cross and Mercy Corps charities who with their partners have significant humanitarian operations on the Greek islands where the emergency situation is severe. Donations will also go to two smaller Scottish based Charities, Glasgow the Caring City and Edinburgh Direct Aid which have sprung to action in order to deliver vital support to those caught up in this crisis on mainland Europe.

It comes ahead of a visit this weekend to the Greek island of Lesbos by Scotland's Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf. The Minister will see the humanitarian response operation first-hand and learn about what more can be done to support those who have made their way to Europe seeking refuge.

Scotland's approach to the refugee crisis was also discussed at a meeting this afternoon in the Scottish Parliament between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Mr Yousaf said:

"The Scottish Government and the people of Scotland are committed to helping the most vulnerable people in their hour of need. We know that we must do more to help those men, women and children coming to Europe seeking protection and refuge.

"I hope that today's announcement of £300,000 will go some way towards helping those who most need our help. Volunteers and staff of international aid organisations like the Red Cross and Mercy Corps are working day in day out to provide humanitarian assistance to those arriving in Europe, having made the perilous journey across the sea.

"I believe it is essential and important that we extend our hand of friendship to those stepping into Europe, coming to our shores looking for the very basic freedoms we often take for granted. We will continue to urge the UK Government to opt-in to the EU relocation scheme and play a part in resettling refugees who have come to Europe.

"It is right that we reaffirm our solidarity with the volunteers, staff and Greek authorities and all those involved in responding daily, on the frontline, to this the biggest mass movement of people of recent times."

Notes to editors

Pictures of the First Minister meeting the UNHCR will be available later at - https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland

This Humanitarian Funding will be split as follows:

British Red Cross £140,000

The British Red Cross is working through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The emergency appeal will help the Red Cross reach 45,000 vulnerable migrants with: food, water, hygiene kits and other essential goods. It will also support emergency health assistance, re-connecting family members and psychosocial support among other humanitarian activities.

Restoring family links services have been provided to migrants in First Reception Centres on the islands by Hellenic Red Cross volunteers.

Mercy Corps £140,000

In Lesbos, Mercy Corps is providing safe transport through buses for arriving refugees in a joint effort with Medecins sans Frontiers, IRC and Save the Children.

The total need currently is for 40 buses a day. Mercy Corps are providing vital assistance to arrivals (water, hygiene kits, information, and phone charging)

Glasgow the Caring City £10,000

Glasgow the Caring City are a long established Glasgow charity, delivering and distributing aid to refugees in the Balkans. They recently launched and successfully delivered the Scotland Unites for Refugees appeal. The generous and compassionate response to their appeal came from all across Scotland - resulting in over 15 tonnes of high value clothing from the public. That clothing, together with their own SoapAid branded soap has now started to be shipped from Glasgow.

The £10,000 donation from the Scottish Government will ensure that Glasgow the Caring City achieves its £17,957 target for the costs of delivering and distributing its aid shipments from Glasgow to where it is so needed in the Balkans.

Edinburgh Direct Aid £10,000

Edinburgh Direct Aid has been operating since 1992 and delivers aid to people in desperate need. They are working with many organisations and partners that are helping those who have come to Europe seeking refuge. Edinburgh Direct Aid will use the funding to help provide and transport clothing in particular winter clothing to the vulnerable people who are settling in Europe having been on very long and difficult journeys and leaving their homes with very little.