HC Deb 16 February 1949 vol 461 cc175-6W
76. Brigadier Rayner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many Arabs have been rendered homeless as a result of events in Palestine; where these refugees are distributed at present; what steps are being taken to relieve their distress; and when and where it is proposed to resettle them.

Mr. McNeil

There is a total of about 810,000 Arab refugees distributed as follows: Gaza area, 210,000; Palestine, 320,000; neighbouring states (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Transjordan) 280,000. The United Nations organisation for the relief of these persons is at present dealing with about 600,000 of them.

All member Governments were called upon by resolution at the United Nations Assembly to contribute to the cost of this relief, estimated at 32 million dollars for nine months, but so far the only substantial funds which have been made available for use are £1 million donated by His Majesty's Government and 5 million dollars advanced from the Secretary-General's Working Capital Fund. Assistance is also being given by the International Children's Emergency Fund, which has set aside 6 million dollars for this purpose, and by the World Health Organisation. Further funds will, however, be required before the end of March if effective assistance is to continue.

Under the terms of the United Nations Assembly Resolution of 11th December, the Conciliation Commission is instructed "to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation." The United Nations Organisation for the Relief of Palestinian Refugees is due to be wound up in August, and it is therefore to be hoped that the Conciliation Commission will prove able to formulate a long-term plan and arrange for its implementation before that date.

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