HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 c1854
15. Mr. Thomas Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are the official rations allowed to the Palestinian Arab refugees.

Mr. Mayhew

The United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees is at present providing a ration of 1,650 calories a day for 940,000 Arab refugees.

Mr. Reid

Are these rations sufficient to maintain these people in health, or only to prevent them from dying?

Mr. Mayhew

The rations are undoubtedly scarcely adequate, but I understand that the deathrate is no worse there than it is for Arab communities in that part of the world. At present their health is remarkably satisfactory on the whole.

Sir Ronald Ross

Is the Minister satisfied that the present conditions of these Arab refugees, in camps in the desert, will not lead to increased mortality during the hardships of winter, and that steps have been taken to prevent this?

Mr. Mayhew

I am afraid that the risk always exists. I can only say that His Majesty's Government have done everything they possibly can to make a real contribution to solving this problem.

Major Legge-Bourke

In view of the fact that the Under-Secretary said that the total number of rations to be issued is more than 900,000, are we to understand that the number of refugees is increasing?

Mr. Mayhew

No, Sir. There is a later Question on that point.

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