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Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the humanitarian projects that the UK has (a) completed and (b) not yet completed in Iraq since 1 May 2003. 
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the Government's estimate is of the average (a) level of supply and (b) number of hours per day of supply of water to the population of (i) Baghdad and (ii) Basra (A) before the start of the recent conflict and (B) since the conclusion of the recent conflict. 
Until the 1991 Gulf War, safe water was available to over 95 per cent. of the urban and 75 per cent. of the rural populations of Iraq. By 2000, coverage had dropped to 92 per cent. and 46 per cent. respectively.
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The deterioration of the system was disproportionately great in the south, including Basra, as a result of the discriminatory policies of the former regime.
It is estimated that as a result of the 2003 conflict and subsequent looting, water supply deteriorated by up to 50 per cent. in some governorates. Estimates suggest that the water supply network as a whole is now operating at about 65 per cent. of pre-war levels. However, significant efforts are being made to improve this situation.
In Baghdad, compact water treatment units and sewage pumping stations have been rehabilitated and additional units are being installed. Measures have also been taken to provide security at water treatment plants to prevent further looting. Hundreds of critical breaks in the water network have been repaired, increasing flow by 2 million litres per day. New construction is taking place at Baghdad's Sharkh Dijlah plant, which will add 40 per cent., or 2.25 million litres per day, to the water supply of eastern Baghdad by May 2004, benefiting 640,000 residents.
In Basra, rehabilitation work has already restored the water supply to pre-conflict levels. By spring 2004, the volume of fully treated water supplied to the city is expected to surpass the pre-war level of partially treated water. By the summer of 2004, the rehabilitation of the Sweet Water Canal, which supplies water to Basra, will have been completed, further benefiting 1.75 million residents.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will arrange for discussions with the Iraqi Provisional Authority about the supply in that country of safe, legal abortion services; whether his Department is prepared to contribute funding specifically for this purpose; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: DFID's main support to the health sector in Iraq is provided through the World Health Organisation (WHO). As part of their programme of work, WHO are holding regular discussions with the Iraqi authorities about the provision of all health services in the country, including family planning services. DFID has no plans to provide direct bilateral support for assistance in this area.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure the safety of workers distributing aid funded by his Department in (a) Baghdad, (b) Basra and (c) elsewhere in Iraq, with particular reference to women aid workers. 
Hilary Benn: The safety of UK personnel throughout Iraq is a top priority. Extensive measures are taken to protect DFID staff and consultants in their living and working quarters, as well as when they are travelling outside Coalition Provisional Authority compounds. These measures include the provision of personal safety and communications equipment, pre-posting security training and briefing and, where appropriate, armed protection. Security arrangements are kept under constant review. The same arrangements apply to men and women.
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We are in close contact on security issues with the United Nations, which distributes a significant proportion of DFID's assistance to Iraq. We recently allocated £3 million to enhance UN security following the bombing of its Baghdad Headquarters in August and to replace equipment destroyed in that attack.
DFID also maintains regular contact with UK non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in Iraq, in which safety and security issues are discussed. Where necessary DFID provides additional funding to those NGOs which we are financing in order to enable them to enhance their own security measures. It is however for each NGO to determine for itself the level and type of security to put in place, according to the circumstances in which it is working.
DFID contracts with commercial companies allow for them to put appropriate security provisions in place. We expect them to adopt equivalent levels of security for their own staff to those we provide for DFID personnel. Security information is shared with these companies on a regular basis.
Hilary Benn: The Public Distribution System for food, managed by the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, provides a basic ration for the whole population. Since the end of the United Nations Oil for Food Programme in November 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has become responsible for food procurement. Contracts already funded are expected to ensure that sufficient basic food will be available until mid-2004.
Significant levels of chronic malnutrition nevertheless persist in Iraq, mainly as a result of long-term poverty and the inability of many people to supplement their basic rations with food containing sufficient minerals and vitamins. A number of programmes are being implemented by bodies such as the World Food Programme, UNICEF and NGOs to provide supplementary feeding to vulnerable groups. DFID is providing support for such programmes, and also for the work of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in reviving agricultural production in Iraq.
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Hilary Benn: Work is currently under way between the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Coalition Provisional Authority and World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop a complete overview of missing drugs, supplies and equipment. This is expected to be complete by March. A great deal has already been achieved to re-establish drug and equipment supply systems. The initial focus was, rightly, on securing adequate supplies of the most essential medicines and vaccines.
Until new supply systems are fully operational, however, including comprehensive accounting and reporting processes to ensure that needs are identified before shortages arise, some problems will continue to occur. Even when these systems are in place, there may continue to be shortages of some highly specialised drugs and equipment.
The most critical contribution the international community can make is to ensure that the Ministry of Health can call on the technical expertise to enable them to prioritise their needs among highly competing demands. This is the nature of some of the support which the WHO has been providing, with DFID funding. We are also looking at possibilities for longer-term technical assistance to this and other key service delivery Ministries to assist with the budget prioritisation process, and to help ensure that they are able to access both Iraqi government revenues and donor funding.
Hilary Benn: Despite continuing terrorist attacks against the Iraqi people, the international community and Multinational Forces in Iraq, the security situation is improving throughout the country as a whole. The majority of insurgency attacks remain largely confined to a limited area to the north and north-west of Baghdad.
Security problems are however still hampering humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, by way of sabotage of infrastructure and attacks on humanitarian workers and contractors. Several humanitarian organisations, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have withdrawn expatriate personnel from Iraq for security reasons. Many of their programmes are however continuing under the management of well-qualified Iraqi staff. We are offering NGOs working on DFID-funded projects in Iraq financial support to meet additional security requirements; and we have allocated £3 million to the United Nations to strengthen its security in Iraq and to replace equipment lost in the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters in August.
The safety of UK personnel throughout Iraq is a top priority. Extensive measures are taken to protect DFID staff and consultants in their living and working quarters, as well as when they are travelling outside Coalition Provisional Authority compounds.
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Hilary Benn: The most comprehensive assessment of the water supply, sanitation and electricity systems in Iraq is included within the Joint Iraq Needs Assessment prepared by the United Nations/World bank and available on the World bank website: http://worldbank.org
More recently the requirements of the various sectors have been assessed by the relevant Iraqi Ministries in conjunction with the CPA to develop the schedule of projects to be funded through the US Supplemental and managed by the Iraq Project Management Office and which are available at: www.rebuildinq-Iraq.net
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with non-governmental organisations which have withdrawn from Iraq about the prospects of a safe return to the country to continue with humanitarian work. 
Hilary Benn: DFID holds regular meetings with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in Iraq, during which security issues are discussed. A number of NGOs have reduced their presence and profile in Iraq as a result of the high levels of insecurity in the country. DFID has offered additional financial support to those NGOs we are funding in Iraq for appropriate increased security provisions, if needed, and a number of NGOs have responded to this offer. Even where some NGOs have withdrawn their expatriate staff, most existing programmes are able to continue under the management of very capable Iraqi staff, albeit sometimes with additional security constraints.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the £60 million funding for his Department's expenditure in Iraq announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 9 April 2003 has been claimed. 
Hilary Benn: The £60 million set aside by the Chancellor for Iraq is included in the UK's total Madrid pledge of £544 for the three years from April 2003. It is available to other Government Departments as well as DFID. £30.8 million has already been allocated, primarily towards meeting the costs of UK secondments to the Coalition Provisional Authority. The allocation of the remainder is under consideration.
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