52. Mr. Ted Garrett
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the situation of Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong.
§ Mr. Maude
The standard of living conditions in Hong Kong's 10 detention centres depends to a large extent on the degree of overcrowding. At present there are 44,000 Vietnamese boat people living in these detention centres, which have a combined design capacity of 43,000 places. A further 5,000 places will become available during May to accommodate the new influx which it is feared will arrive in the coming months.
The UNHCR provides a full range of services to all detention centres through programmes operated by voluntary agencies. These services include education for children and adults, medical and family planning services, social work and welfare services.
§ Mr. Maude
Following the influx of 34,000 Vietnamese boat people in 1989, the Hong Kong Government have constructed new accommodation providing a total of 23,000 places. This has eased the overcrowding and has led to a significant improvement in conditions. In 1989–90 the total cost of providing asylum in Hong Kong was about £90 million. Of this, Her Majesty's Government provided £21 million to cover part of the cost of the building programme.