HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 cc907-8
Q9. [80330] Ms Tess Kingham (Gloucester)

Will my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister join me in congratulating the people of the city of Gloucester and, in fact, all British people on their generosity in responding to the Kosovo refugee crisis? Does he recognise that many tens of thousands—perhaps even hundreds of thousands—of Kosovar Albanians are displaced in Kosovo, and, it is reported, are living in the mountains, some eating grass, without adequate shelter, health care or any facilities and in very dire need? What discussions has he had with NATO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on considering the possibility of air drops to those very vulnerable people?

The Prime Minister

We have discussions the whole time about the feasibility of getting humanitarian aid through to those refugees, though the experience of using air drops is mixed. We have to make sure that any action we take in this respect will be effective.

The commitment and the generosity of the British people should not surprise us, but it is amazing how generous they have been. In communities and churches up and down the country, millions of pounds have been raised for the Kosovar refugees and we applaud that. The Government have added significant sums of money. However, the best thing for those displaced people in Kosovo is that we make sure that this action succeeds.