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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of United Kingdom funds for reconstruction in Afghanistan have been allocated to micro-credit agencies. 
Clare Short: Comprehensive data on mortality rates in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Afghanistan are not available. However, as access has improved in Afghanistan, agencies have been able to provide better- targeted assistance and to monitor the situation more effectively. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a significant decrease in mortality rates at Maslakh camp outside Herat. An estimated 180,000 displaced persons, mostly from Ghor and Badghis provinces, have been living in Maslakh camp since September 2000. By December 2001, the crude mortality rate was 0.47 per 10,000 people: a death rate of approximately 50 persons per week. This figure has now halved to approximately 0.2 per 10,000.
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The Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People, prepared by the UN in consultation with the Afghan Interim Authority, sets out priorities and objectives for the population of Afghanistan in the period up to December 2002. One of the key activities in the health sector is to strengthen the population and health statistical data system in Afghanistan. This will help build national capacity to collect and compile urgently needed data on the health needs of the Afghan population, and monitor mortality rates across the country.
Clare Short: The volatile situation remains a serious concern for refugees returning to Afghanistan. Sporadic fighting in some areas, continuing lawlessness, as well as the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance, continue to prevent unhindered access to parts of Afghanistan. Because of the precarious security situation in some parts of Afghanistan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is cautioning Afghans against spontaneously returning to certain areas. Provinces and areas on UNHCR's 'caution' list include: Paktia, Khost, Zabul, Uruzgan, Nimroz, Helmand, Farah, Tora Bora and Sholgara.
Clare Short: The Afghan Interim Administration (AIA) and the international community are committed to improving the protection of at-risk civilians. This includes creating conditions conducive to the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in safety and dignity to their places of origin. Our support to agencies such as UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) will help contribute to this important objective.
Clare Short: At the Tokyo conference, the Afghanistan Interim Administration (AIA) identified the restoration of basic services, through an urban reconstruction programme to restore utilities and support municipal authorities, as one of their main priorities. In line with this, the United Nations (UN) Country Team for Afghanistan has prepared the Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People 2002 (ITAP) which prioritises the health sector as a key focus within Afghanistan. This includes activities to improve the provision of public health clinics.
My Department is continuing to channel support through the Red Cross movement and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are focusing on the rehabilitation of hospitals and health care clinics in order to provide essential, primary health care. We have recently provided an additional £2 million to the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) for the provision of technical and material support to the Ministry of Public Health.
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Clare Short: Since October 2001, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate that approximately 330,000 Afghans have returned to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries. There were no major returns in October 2001; approximately 65,000 Afghans returned during November and December 2001; over 100,000 in January 2002; approximately the same number in February 2002; and almost 65,000 people returned to Afghanistan from 1 to 10 March 2002.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the progress made in achieving the international development targets, with particular reference to ending child poverty by (a) the UK and (b) the international community. 
Clare Short: There are two child specific Millennium Development Goals, reducing the under five mortality rate and ensuring that children of both sexes will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. However all the MDGs clearly have significant impacts on child poverty.
The contribution of the UK to making progress towards these targets is outlined in DFID's public service agreement. The results of our efforts so far will be published next month in our departmental report.
Global progress towards the goals is set out in the joint UN and World Bank report 'A Better World For All.' The report indicates that significant progress has been made towards halving the proportion of people whose income is less than a dollar a day, a target that will greatly impact on child poverty. Progress has also been made on a more limited basis, on reducing child mortality rates and increasing in the numbers of boys and girls enrolled in primary school.
The UN General Assembly has agreed to produce annual reports on progress in reaching the MDGs. This information should serve to motivate the international community and strengthen and better target the efforts made to support progress towards the MDGs. We are currently working with other donor partners, the UN, World Bank and Development Assistance Committee to increase the capacity of developing countries to monitor statistics on a country basis, to support international monitoring of the MDGs, and to enable developing countries to develop national strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable development on the basis of accurate and current information.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what proportion of the staff of her Department are (a) job sharing, (b) term working and (c) engaged in another form of flexible working. 
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Clare Short: Details of DFID's job sharers, and part time workers engaged in flexible working are contained in the following table. There is no central record of full time staff engaged in flexible working. We have no staff who are term working.
|Total number of staff in DFID headquarters(3)||1,597|
|Numbers of job share staff||18|
|Percentage of total job share staff||1.1|
|Numbers of staff engaged in other flexible working patterns||105|
|Percentage of total staff engaged in other flexible working patterns||6.6|
(3) London and East Kilbride
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much humanitarian aid has been given to (a) Iran and (b) the northern border states of Afghanistan formerly part of the Soviet Union in the last 12 months. 
Clare Short: In the last 12 months, my Department has provided over £1.7 million of humanitarian assistance to Iran, primarily for the benefit of Afghan and Iraqi refugees. Our support, which has been channelled through UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has focused on emergency food assistance, and improvement of health care and education services for Afghan and Iraqi refugees.
In the same period, we have provided £2.2 million of drought relief assistance to Tajikistan. This has been channelled through UN agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs for food assistance, water and sanitation improvement, and livelihood and agricultural support.
In addition, the £60 million that we have disbursed in response to the crisis in Afghanistan since September 2001 includes a number of regional grants to humanitarian agencies. A proportion of this amount has therefore been spent in countries neighbouring Afghanistan, including Iran and the northern border states of Afghanistan.
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