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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Fund for overseas terror victims
The aftermath of a terrorist attack on the holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Eleven people died in bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
A Red Cross charity fund to help UK victims of terrorist attacks abroad has been formally set up, with an initial 1m donation from the government.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the fund in March 2006, and interim payments have been made since then.

Families of those killed and injured in attacks in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar, have long campaigned for more help as they did not qualify for assistance.

They said the fund was an "important step" but full compensation was needed.

The fund pays out to people who are seriously injured or bereaved.

Grants are paid to cope with "sudden and unforeseen expenses" such as hospital bills, or travel and accommodation costs, but are not meant to be compensation for what victims had suffered, said the British Red Cross.

What we need to do now is have a look at long term support for these people - the bombers are not going to go away.
Trevor Lakin, father of victim

Money from the new fund is also being made available to victims of terrorist attacks overseas that happened between 1 January 2002 and March 2006.

More than 40 Britons have been killed and scores injured in attacks abroad since 11 September 2001, including bombings in Bali, Egypt, Turkey and Qatar.

The scheme, called the British Red Cross Relief Fund for UK Victims of Terrorism Abroad, will provide immediate payments of 3,000.

A further payout of 12,000 will be available to those who have been bereaved, and those who have to stay in hospital for five days or more, or need continued outpatient appointments.

Charitable grants of up to 15,000 will be available to help people deal with further financial difficulties.

"We hope to ease the burden at an incredibly stressful time," said Margaret Lally, director of UK service development at the charity.

Long term

The families of some victims have previously said while those affected by terror attacks in the UK are compensated, victims of terrorism outside the country were being neglected and abandoned.

They are supporting a proposed Bill that includes statutory compensation, which was debated in the House of Lords last month and is due for its third reading in June.

Trevor Lakin - whose son Jez died in the 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh bombings along with his girlfriend Annalie Vickers - said he had received a letter from Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell thanking him for his part in bringing the plight of overseas terror victims to light.

"She said she knew the fund was not the same as compensation and that there was more work to be done to ensure victims got the recognition they deserved from the government," he told the BBC News website.

Annelie Vickers and Jeremy Lakin
Annelie Vickers and Jez Lakin died in the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings

He said they knew of people who had struggled to pay medical bills and other costs.

The immediate 3,000 would at least help people to fly out to find their loved ones, get accommodation and make essential calls, said Mr Lakin, of Bourne, Lincolnshire.

But there were longer term problems, he said, with some of those injured often left disabled and unable to work.

"The fund that has been announced today is great as a first step, what we need to do now is have a look at long term support for these people. The bombers are not going to go away. Wherever a British citizen is injured...they need support from their government."

The Victims of Overseas Terrorism Bill, which has been brought by Labour's Lord Brennan, backs a statutory compensation scheme.

The UK's Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority covers attacks in Britain, but not abroad, and insurers often do not pay out for terrorist attacks.




SEE ALSO
Compensation bid for bomb victims
19 Apr 07 |  UK Politics
Triple blasts rock Egypt resort
25 Apr 06 |  Middle East

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