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.”