U.S. Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom visited Lesvos

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Heather Higginbottom on March 28th visited the northern Aegean island of Lesvos, where she met with local and national government officials and representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The U.S. delegation visited facilities involved in registering newly arrived migrants and we had a chance to talk with some young refugees.

U.S. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom said during a press conference:

“… I’ve heard about, and now I’ve witnessed this beautiful town, incredible acts of kindness and generosity, the efforts to rescue people at sea, and to help shelter and feed them here in this community has provided a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people.

The United States is a partner in this effort. I am here on my way to a conference in Geneva hosted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. I’ll be representing the President and the Secretary of State, who back in Washington have this issue, both solving the crisis in Syria with a diplomatic solution, and addressing the migrant refugee crisis as a top priority of our administration.

But I wanted to come here first before heading to Geneva, to learn more about what is happening here and to express appreciation for all those in Lesvos and across Greece are doing for migrants that are arriving here. And I wanted to learn first hand how we can better support that work.

So I’m pleased to announce today that we are committing an additional 20 million dollars for efforts to provide protection, shelter, food and other life saving assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and migrants throughout Europe, including here in Greece. The 20 million dollars includes 17.5 million dollars for UNHCR, two million dollars for the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent, and 500 thousand dollars for the United Nations Population Fund.

This new funding brings the total US humanitarian assistance for the regional refugee and migrant support effort to more than 43.6 million dollars since it started last year. The welfare of migrants and refugees, including those who are risking their lives in a desperate attempt to find safety in Europe is a top priority for President Obama and across our government.  We are strongly committed to supporting refugees through assistance to the region, resettlement in the United States and by working with other nations and organizations to increase global support”.

SOURCE: Embassy of the U.S. in Athens
PHOTO: State Department