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Afghanistan

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what new steps she is taking to ensure that the people of Afghanistan will have sufficient supplies and resources to survive the winter. [84145]

Clare Short: In September DFID provided an additional £11 million to be disbursed to address humanitarian needs over the winter months. This money has now been disbursed. The majority has been provided to support the work of major UN agencies, including the World Food Programme, UNHCR, UNICEF and the UN Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC), as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross and is intended to help fill gaps in relief assistance for food, water, health care, clothing and shelter. The funding to the UNJLC is to help the UN clear routes in order to gain access to vulnerable people otherwise cut off by the winter snows and poor roads.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much economic aid was paid to Afghanistan in 2001 and what the projected figure is for 2002; and if she will make a statement. [84195]

Clare Short: During 2001 all assistance given to Afghanistan by the UK was for humanitarian activities. In the current financial year we have allocated £65 million to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. So far we have disbursed over £52 million, this includes £10 million to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund and over £12 million to meet repayments of Afghan arrears to the international financial institutions.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had on the subject of the transfer of aid to Afghanistan from humanitarian to reconstruction projects; and if she will make a statement. [84199]

Clare Short: During my recent visit to Afghanistan I had several discussions with Afghan Ministers and UN agencies regarding the transition from humanitarian to reconstruction assistance. This needs to be managed with care because the transitional Administration has very limited capacity to deliver services outside Kabul and humanitarian needs remain considerable not least because the south of Afghanistan

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is suffering its fifth year of drought. My Department is providing £10 million to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund. We are also including a contribution of approximately £12.5 million to help Afghanistan clear its arrears to the international financial institutions so that it can access concessional resources for reconstruction assistance.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what appraisal she has made of the level of aid going to Afghanistan in relation to (a) the number of refugees returning and (b) the number of school children. [84200]

Clare Short: Since the start of 2002, nearly two million refugees are reported to have returned to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries; in that same period approximately three million children have returned to school. From October 2001 to December 2002, UNHCR have received over $245 million of funding, resulting in their appeal for funds being just under 91 per cent. funded. UNICEF, which is providing, among other things, support to education in Afghanistan, is reporting that their appeal for 2002 has raised just over $137 million, which equates to 72 per cent. of funds requested. In addition to this, funding money is also being directed to education and refugee support via other routes, including bilateral support and through NGOs. In comparison to donor appeals in previous crises the appeals for Afghanistan are in the most part well funded.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if it is her Department's policy to continue to give most aid to non-governmental organisations in Afghanistan. [84286]

Clare Short: Both the UN agencies and the NGOs have done an excellent job in delivering much needed humanitarian assistance quickly to Afghanistan. To date we have directed the majority of our aid through the UN system and NGOs. We have also placed £10 million in the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to provide the Afghan Transitional Administration with funds to support what it has identified as priorities for development. However, most of these funds are being spent on pay for very small salaries for large numbers of civil servants that provide very limited services to the people of Afghanistan. We hope that as the Transitional Administration continues to build its capacity it will be better placed in the future to channel development assistance direct and focus it on areas of greatest need.

Central African Republic

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to help replenish stocks of anti-tuberculosis drugs in the Central African Republic. [84640]

Clare Short: The Central African Republic has made an emergency application to the Global TB Drug Facility (GDF) for an estimated years supply of TB drugs. Delivery is expected imminently. Connected to

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this application, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will soon be fielding a mission to determine the Central African Republic's long term tuberculosis drug needs. Future additional supplies of TB drugs will be secured through the formal application process to the GDF and additional technical support provided by Stop TB. DFID is a partner of Stop TB and the GDF.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what evidence has been received by her Department indicating a shortage of medical supplies within hospitals in the Central African Republic. [84641]

Clare Short: My Department is aware of reports from UN agencies indicating that there are shortages of medicines in the Central African Republic, particularly in hospitals and health centres in CAR's northern provinces. According to a report on 28 November, two major health zones remain cut off from a re-supply depot in the capital, Bangui, due to the closure of the main road route on security grounds. The result of this has been a shortage of essential medicines and vaccines (e.g. for tuberculosis, polio and yellow fever) in the regional pharmaceutical depots. UK support to CAR is provided through multilateral agencies such as the European Commission.

Cote d'Ivoire

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has offered in response to the UN appeal of 21 November for Cote d'Ivoire. [84636]

Clare Short: We are working closely with others to try to help bring about a swift and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cote d'lvoire. We have received several appeals for humanitarian assistance from the UN and other organisations and we are considering how to respond to these in the light of the changing circumstances in the country.

Ethiopia

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact which availability of seaports is having on the transportation of food aid to Ethiopia. [84947]

Clare Short: Our ambassador to Ethiopia, who also covers Djibouti, visited Djibouti from 20–22 November. During his visit he was informed that the port is working efficiently and is well placed to handle the food aid imports required to deal with the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia, with a throughput of 300,000 metric tonnes per month. The Government of Djibouti indicated that it will do everything it can to help.

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Malawi

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reason her Department has no involvement in the water sector in Malawi. [84616]

Clare Short: DFID's programme has more than doubled since 1996 (to £70 million per annum). It is concentrated on health, education, governance and sustainable livelihoods support. One of the important lessons of effective development is that bilateral agencies should not seek to work in all sectors but should co-operate with others in supporting reform efforts in different sectors. Japan, Canada, Norway, UNICEF and the World bank are currently engaged in Malawi's water sector.

Mauritania

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on food security levels in Mauritania. [84643]

Clare Short: Mauritania is a low-income food deficit country which is vulnerable to drought and desertification. Late and erratic rainfall in southern regions this year has aggravated an already poor food situation in the country. The World Food Programme (WFP) has estimated that there are 750,000 people affected by food shortages. We are monitoring the situation closely and have provided assistance through our contributions to WFP and are considering our response to their latest emergency appeal.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the level of malnutrition among children in Mauritania. [84980]

Clare Short: We have no figures for children affected by malnutrition in Mauritania as a whole. However, Oxfam report that a nutritional assessment carried out in September 2002 in the Aftout region by UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP) and international NGOs concluded that 56 per cent. of the children were suffering from malnutrition. The WFP estimates that 750,000 people are affected by food shortages. We have provided assistance through our contributions to WFP and are considering our response to their latest appeal.


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