HC Deb 25 April 1956 vol 551 cc140-1W
16. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further developments have taken place in respect of United Nation's relief and assistance for Arab refugees encamped in Jordan.

Mr. Nutting

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency continues to spend approximately $23 million annually on relief and assistance. According to the Director-General's last annual report, there are approximately 906,000 refugees now registered compared with 887,058 in 1954. At present 835,928 draw monthly dry rations. Supplementary rations are provided for children and pregnant and nursing women; and for others on medical grounds.

Of the 335,000 refugees still living in the camps nearly 75 per cent. are now housed in block and mud brick shelters. In Jordan itself the construction of additional living quarters should provide for an additional 20,000 not at present housed by the Agency; and further construction is planned to replace the present use of 11,000 tents.

U.N.R.W.A.'s health programme continues to expand. No major epidemics have been reported and the refugees' general health is satisfactory. The Agency operates 90 clinics and out patients' departments, and maintains or reserves 2,302 hospital beds. A new 100 bed tuberculosis hospital in Jordan at Nablus opened in April, 1955.

Elementary school education is now available to all refugee children. An additional 11,551 attend secondary schools. Vocational training and university education are a growing (but still limited) part of the Agency's programme.

Despite the progress made, it may be desirable to improve or add to the present relief services. There is a need for more clothing and increased calorific content of rations; improved shelter for more people; increased fuel distribution; and better care of the chronically ill.