Wales prepares to support Syrian refugees

A task force is to be set up to see how Wales will respond to the refugee crisis in Europe.

At a summit this morning, charities and government ministers said Wales would take its share of refugees - although no firm figures were given.

In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have fled war-torn Syria - many risking their lives on dangerous journeys to enter Europe.

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Task force plan to help Wales respond to refugee crisis

A task force is to be set up to see how Wales will respond to the refugee crisis in Europe.

At a summit this morning, charities and government ministers said Wales would take its share of people - although no firm figures were given.

The summit took place in Cardiff Bay to discuss how Wales can play its full part in resettling refugees in Wales and develop the most effective response to the crisis.

First Minister Carwyn Jones says an assessment is needed of the challenges it will bring - but council leaders say cost is a concern.

Many refugees 'will not survive another winter'

Oxfam Cymru have urged Welsh local authorities to ensure that their pledge to help refugees is delivered, for fears that those living in camps in Lebanon and Jordan 'will not survive another winter'.

Credit: PA

The comments come ahead of today's summit to discuss the refugee crisis, which will be hosted by the First Minister.

In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have fled war-torn Syria, many risking their lives to enter Europe.

All 22 Welsh local authorities have given their commitment to do all they can to support the refugee crisis, following an outpouring of sympathy from the people of Wales. Their pledge is to be welcomed, and now needs to be delivered, as many people living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan will not survive another winter.

According to Oxfam’s Fair Share Analysis, Wales should resettle at least 326 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. There are currently over four million refugees registered in the countries neighbouring Syria – more than the entire population of Wales.

– Carys Thomas, Head of Oxfam Cymru

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Government to host summit on refugee crisis

First Minister Carwyn Jones is holding a summit today to discuss how Wales can play a part in resettling refugees.

Over recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have fled war-torn Syria - many risking their lives on dangerous journeys to enter Europe.

Credit: PA

Hundreds of people gathered in Cardiff at the weekend to show their support to refugees.

Many there used the opportunity to call for the UK Government to do more following the announcement they will take 20,000 refugees before 2020.

Carwyn Jones will be joined by a number of charities including the Welsh Refugee Council and British Red Cross. The Government says the discussion will be about developing the most effective response to the crisis.

Welsh Government ready to help refugees but raises funding questions

The Welsh Government has welcomed the UK Government's commitment to help 20,000 Syrian refugees and is 'ready to respond.' But a spokesperson says there are questions over the timetable of the new assistance programme being offered to Syrian refugees and how it will be funded.

The spokesperson said:

While we welcome today’s announcement that the UK Government has committed to help an additional 20,000 refugees, we are concerned about the pace at which this help will be provided, and how it will be funded. We need to see urgent action now. We note the Prime Minister's commitment to engage with the devolved administrations on today's announcement, and we look forward to hearing more detail.

Wales stands ready to respond to this unfolding humanitarian tragedy and the Welsh Government will play a key role in how Wales responds to the current crisis. We are holding a summit next week to bring together key agencies and service providers to jointly develop the most effective response. We will also continue to work with the UK Government to ensure the necessary arrangements are put in place to help successfully resettle refugees in Wales.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Wales refugee summit is 'a starting point'

The Welsh Government says a summit next week will be a 'starting point for discussion' on Wales' response to the refugee crisis. First Minister Carwyn Jones will host the meeting which is expected to bring together those who work with refugees and the local councils which will be responsible for looking after asylum seekers.

The First Minister believes the Welsh Government has an important co-ordination role in how Wales responds to the refugee crisis. We want to bring key agencies and service providers together in one room, so everyone can have a clear idea of the challenges and responsibilities we are facing, and so we can jointly develop the most effective and collective response. We have said that Wales stands ready to play our part in responding to the crisis, and that will be the starting point for discussion.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

The spokesperson added that the Welsh Government funds help for refugees carried out by the Welsh Refugee Council, the British Red Cross and the Trinity Project.

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Wales to host summit on refugee crisis

First Minister Carwyn Jones says he will hold a summit on Wales' response to the refugee crisis affecting Europe.

Last week Carwyn Jones said Wales' share of 10,000 refugees in the UK would be between 500 and 600 families.

Refugees travelled through Hungary today. Credit: PA

Lib Dem peer: Open our empty buildings to refugees

Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A Welsh Liberal Democrat peer has urged councils to make buildings, empty shops and unoccupied houses available for refugees from Syria.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno said: “They could be used to offer short-term shelter. I am not talking about council houses, but empty homes that are without an occupier."

Lord Roberts of Llandudno said our empty buildings should be used to shelter refugees. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/PA Images

Earlier today, Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would take in "thousands more" Syrian refugees and give an extra £100m in aid.

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