Press release

Justine Greening announces £30 million in support for refugees arriving in Europe in Winter

New support will help 27,000 children and babies who have fled fighting in Syria - support for migration crisis now exceeds £50m.

Britain will provide £30million in new funding to help the most vulnerable people – including children and infants - arriving in Europe and fleeing the Syrian conflict, the International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced.

Meeting the urgent needs of around 27,000 children that have fled to the Balkans, Greece, and Italy, the UK’s support will provide jackets, hats, scarves, boots and food to help keep them this winter.

International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said:

As the humanitarian crisis in Syria continues, we will make sure we help refugees who have lost everything and desperately need our support.

We are helping people inside Syria, enabling millions to stay in neighbouring countries, and for those who have made the perilous journey to Europe, we are stepping up our support to ensure they can cope with worsening weather conditions.

Many children and their families have been left with nothing but the clothes on their back and are in desperate need of basic essentials. As the coldest months of winter are upon us, warm clothes, hot water and warm blankets will help protect the most vulnerable.

The UK will provide:

  • £2.75m to UNICEF
  • £11m funding to the Start Fund
  • £9.75m to the UNHCR’s Special Mediterranean Initiative
  • £3m to IFRC
  • £3.5million worth of essential equipment

Funding to UNICEF will provide blankets for babies, winter shoes/boots and socks, winter jackets, winter hats, scarf and gloves, and food

Funding to Start Fund (a consortium of NGOs including Mercy Corps, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, and others), UNHCR and the Red Cross will provide additional winter help to migrants and refugees who have already travelled to Europe, and boost infrastructure and services to take care of new arrivals.

This includes: transport from arrival points to accommodation to reduce exposure to the cold, warm clothes and blankets, hot meals and insulated pipes at water stations to ensure drinking water keeps flowing, portacabins, tents, sleeping materials to shelter people from the cold weather, increased support for health services, including basic medicines, first aid support and psychosocial care, emergency care by paramedics for new arrivals or those rescued and mobile health units to treat people on the move.

Totalling a further £3.5million the UK will provide essential equipment in the form of over 1,700 tents, 18,000 sleeping mats, 178,000 blankets, and items such as a rough terrain forklift truck to enable the complex logistics of the response.

The UK has already given £5m to the Start Fund, £2.4m to the IFRC and £6.75m to the UNHCR.

The International Development Secretary’s announcement brings the UK’s total support for refugees and migrants during the Mediterranean migration crisis to nearly £55m and includes:

  • £37.65 million to provide life-saving aid to migrants and refugees and support to governments in managing registration in Europe, the Western Balkans, and Turkey
  • approximately £6.5 million in countries in Africa including north Africa, for assistance, protection and counselling on options and risks around travel and support for people to return home where required
  • £3.6 million to provide expert humanitarian advice as well as supporting research and systems for better understanding and predicting trends in movement, which will help alleviate the pressures that force people to move and allow for a better, more rapid humanitarian response
  • £4m to supply tents, blankets and sleeping materials through NGOs and to host governments through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism
  • £2.75m to UNICEF to help focus our response on children, addressing the most urgent needs

UK support will contribute to international efforts to provide assistance and protection to over 1 million refugees and migrants over the winter and beyond, in nine countries, including some of the most overstretched, such as Greece which has seen unprecedented levels of arrivals this year.

The UK is at the forefront of global efforts to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable and displaced people inside Syria, and to refugees in neighbouring countries. In February 2016, the UK will convene world leaders in London for a conference to identify long-term solutions to address the needs of those affected by the crisis.

Additional points

  1. In addition to the UK’s funding in European countries that refugees and migrants are leaving from and transiting through, we have pledged £1.12 billion, our largest ever humanitarian response to a single crisis.
  2. The UK will also contribute up to £275 million to Turkey over the next two years to help it address the consequences of the Syria conflict.
  3. By focusing support on meeting basic humanitarian needs in the region, we are helping Syrians stay in their home country, or build a life in neighbouring countries.
  4. Over 10.68 million Syrians have been forced from their homes by the conflict – of which a small proportion have sought asylum in Europe.
  5. The Start Fund is a consortium of NGOs, more details can be found at

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