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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment her Department has made of the humanitarian situation in the refugee camps in Montserrado county in Liberia. [100001]

Clare Short: Our information on the humanitarian situation in Liberia is from reporting by the UN and other agencies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

There are six camps in Montserrado county. Health and other services in three camps are supported by MSF Belgium, and in one each by MSF France, ICRC and World Vision. Another camp is being established by a Liberian NGO. We understand that the general condition of those civilians displaced and those living in camps, as well as the resident population, is poor but as yet not critical.

We have recently committed £450,000 to MSF Belgium for primary health care and £550,000 to ICRC for humanitarian programmes in Liberia.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate she has made of the number of Liberians who have fled into Sierra Leone following the upsurge of hostilities between Liberian Government forces and Liberian rebels; and what financial allocation has been made for the provision of shelter for Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone. [100002]

Clare Short: UNHCR estimates that, since the most recent outbreak of fighting in mid-February, 7,000 refugees have crossed into Sierra Leone.

We recently committed £1.4 million for humanitarian assistance in Sierra Leone. £900,000 of this has been earmarked directly for assistance to Liberian refugees. £500,000 will provide emergency assistance, care and maintenance through UNHCR; and £400,000 will contribute to a UNICEF programme to control vaccine preventable diseases among refugees and the civilian population, in the east and north of Sierra Leone.

Meningitis Vaccine

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate the World Health Organisation has made of the number of doses of meningitis vaccine required and how many have been distributed in (a) Burkina Faso and (b) the Central African Republic. [100046]

Clare Short: The information is as follows:

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a) Burkina Faso:

In the epidemic season 2001–02 there was a global shortage of tetravalent vaccine. In Burkina Faso, there were 13,000 cases, with 1,500 deaths. The target population for a mass vaccination campaign is an estimated 3.5 million people. The national authorities made no formal request for vaccines. The World Health Organisation (WHO) provided 25,000 doses of tetravalent (corresponding to a donation from Aventis) which were used to protect health workers.

So far in the epidemic season 2002–03, there has been 3,000 reported cases including 400 deaths. The national authorities have requested 1.4 million doses of the new GSK trivalent vaccine. WHO is in partnership with GSK to ensure widest use of this vaccine and are currently looking for funds from donors including the Gates Foundation. 500,000 doses have been sent so far with 1 million extra doses ready to be shipped.

b) Central African Republic (CAR):

The political situation in CAR is unstable and consequently it is difficult to collect reliable data. Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) reported 60 cases in Bangassou and 20 cases in Mobaye between October and December 2002. CAR authorities requested 10,000 doses of tetravalent vaccine but due to the epidemiological figures and the absence of reliable lab data, no vaccination campaign has been implemented.

Mine Clearance

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent on (a) humanitarian mine clearance, (b) commercial mine clearance (c) military initiatives, (d) mine awareness, (e) victim assistance and (f) research and development for mine clearance in 2002. [100011]

Clare Short: The information is as follows:

(a) DFID estimates that it will spend approximately £9 million on Humanitarian Mine Clearance in 2002–03. This figures also includes some integrated mine awareness activities. As programmes are often integrated separate costs of awareness are not available.

(b) DFID has not funded commercial mine clearance. There are no records of UK commercial demining activities currently available in Department of Trade and Industry.

(c) Military mine clearance has taken place in the Balkans since 1992. This is not funded by DFID. UK military advisers have been attached to UN Mine Action Centres assisting in the development of mine action programmes. They have also supervised the mine clearance carried out by the Entity Armed Forces and provided mine awareness to local populations. The Mine Information Training Centre (MITC) has provided mine awareness training to over 30,000 people. The MOD has also continued to monitor minefields in the Falkland Islands. This work is part of the wider responsibilities of those involved and is impossible to cost accurately.

(d) DFID has contributed £300,000 to UNICEF for specific mine awareness activities.

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(e) Assistance to landmine victims is additional to our mine programme. Mine victims benefit from our mainstream health and population and social development programmes, as well as specific humanitarian programmes assisting the disabled. It is not possible to disaggregate expenditure figures for landmine victims.

(f) DFID estimates that it will spend £1,400,000 on research and development in 2002–03 in connection with Humanitarian Mine Action.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what organisations the Government gave money for mine clearance in 2002–03; and how much was given in each case. [100009]

Clare Short: The following table gives the figures for the Department of International Development:


OrganisationEstimated final Outturn 2002–03
The HALO Trust (bilateral)325,000
Mines Advisory Group (MAG) (bilateral)660,000
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)5,300,000
UNICEF (Mines Awareness)300,000
Organisation of American States (Nicaragua demining)378,000
QINETIQ (Tech Advice and Testing)200,000
Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)1,000,000
Landmine Monitor137,000
DISARMCO (Research and Development)10,000
ERA (Research and Development)117,000
SERCO (Research and Development)30,000
BARIC Consultants (Technical Advice)100,000

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the expenditure was on humanitarian mine clearance in each year since 1997, broken down by country. [100010]

Clare Short: For details relating to the period 1997 to 2000, I refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave her on 29 March 2001 (Official Report, column 721W). The figures for 2000 to 2003 are given in the table below:

Country2000–01 (£)2001–02 (£)2002–03(£ estimated)
Guinea Bissau120,000
Northern Iraq616,100500,000500,000

The balance of the DFID spend on Humanitarian Mine Action is via the UN and not ring fenced for specific countries.

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Occupied Territories

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the estimated amount of food aid in the Occupied Territories is; and how much has been distributed. [99995]

Clare Short : Food aid is provided by a range of donors in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Comprehensive figures are not available. The largest provider, UNRWA, disbursed food to the value of US$21 million in 2002, and plans further support of US$32million in the first six months of 2003. The World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and a range of NGOs provide complimentary support to the non-refugee population. Food aid is however only one of a range of instruments used to meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian people. Other instruments, such as budget support and employment generation, have contributed significantly in easing the growing humanitarian situation and have the added benefit of stimulating the local economy.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the impact of a war against Iraq on the routes of humanitarian aid to the Occupied Territories; and what steps she will take to guarantee humanitarian aid routes to the Occupied Territories. [99997]

Clare Short: The most likely major impact, in the event of a war in Iraq, would be a complete closure by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, severely restricting travel between and within the Occupied Territories. The international community has made it clear that Israel must allow humanitarian operations to continue without impediment, including the safe passage of humanitarian staff and supplies. Lessons learned from the 1991 Gulf War and from the intense military activity of Israel's 'Operation Defensive Shield' in 2002 will help international and local organisations cope more effectively should this happen.

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