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28 Oct 2004 : Column 1313W—continued


Sir Archy Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps have been taken by the Textile and Clothing Strategy Group since June 2000. [193183]

Nigel Griffiths: The Textiles and Clothing Strategy Group's (TCSG) second report "Making it Happen" published in July 2002 records many actions taken by Government and industry to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the sector and looks a the changes to the industry since the report was issued, considering the extent to which they affect the initial's report's recommendations and assesses, the challenges ahead.

Actions by Government featured in "Making it Happen" include:

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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's definition is of agribusiness; and whether it includes agricultural import-export investments. [193318]

Hilary Benn: An agribusiness is a business in the agricultural sector, including the processing and distribution of agricultural products, and agricultural import-export businesses.


Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to contribute to the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. [190994]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The UK played a leading role in setting up the global fund to tackle AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), and we believe it has a crucial role in fighting AIDS, TB and Malaria.

In July, the UK announced a doubling of its pledge from 2005 to 2008, subject to the GFATM demonstrating its effectiveness. This brings our overall pledge to approximately £259 million (US$449 million, 2002–03 to 2007–08) making the UK the fourth largest donor to the global fund.


Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received from the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh on the ongoing effect of the recent floods that took place in Bangladesh; what assistance the UK has given to that country; and if he will make a statement. [193489]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: Heavy monsoon rain in Bangladesh and surrounding countries in July, led to major flooding over Bangladesh. This was exacerbated by a localised monsoon depression, which swept over Bangladesh in September, bringing three limes the normal rainfall and causing flooding in Dhaka, the southwest and central areas of the country, including several districts, which had not been affected by the previous flood.

Damage assessments, including that undertaken on behalf of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), estimate that over 33 million people have been affected by the floods, over two million dwellings damaged and some four million inhabitants displaced. Homes, schools, clinics, roads, bridges, small-scale enterprises and crops have been damaged. Many people were forced to sell off their livestock and many days employment, hence income, lost. Tube wells and other water sources were contaminated and up to three million latrines
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damaged or washed away, leaving the population with limited or no access to safe water and sanitation, increasing the risks of diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases. An Asian Development Bank (ADB)/World Bank (WB) mission in September estimated total damage to assets and output losses at $2.2 billion (£1.1 billion), representing 3.9 per cent. of GDP.

The monsoon season is now nearly over and the flood situation continues to improve. All emergency flood shelters are now closed. However, there remain some rises in the Brahmaputra-Jumuna river water level, with two out of 86 monitoring stations remaining above danger level.

When the floods commenced in July, the UK Government led the international donor community to ensure immediate emergency needs were met. The UK was the first to announce bilateral support for the flood-affected people of Bangladesh. On 26 July the UK Government allocated £10 million through DFID to meet immediate flood emergency needs. £5 million of this was channelled through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and £5 million through World Food Programme (WFP). Supporting these two organizations ensured that both food and non-food emergency needs of those affected by the flood were met. This initial £10 million has now been fully utilised to provide food packages of rice, pulses, oil, salt and nutritionally fortified high-energy biscuits; and non-food support, including shelter and agricultural support (such as provision of seedlings) to over 900,000 families (4.5 million people) affected by the floods. In particular, the relief was targeted on the six worst affected districts—Brahmanbaria, Habiganj, Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Sirajganj and Sunamganj.

This assistance was delivered by 22 national and international non-governmental organisations with a strong track record in effective relief delivery in Bangladesh. These included Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Save the Children Fund (SCF) (UK), Oxfam, CARE, Islamic Relief, Concern, Christian Aid, United Nations Food and Population Fund (UNFPA), Action Aid, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases and Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR-B), Gonoshasthaya Kendra, and Handicap International.

The UK Government then turned its attention to the extensive recovery and rehabilitation needs of Bangladesh. On 12 August, the United Nations launched its Consolidated Appeal for $210 million (£117 million) to meet relief and recovery needs for the next 6 months. Again, the UK Government acted swiftly to meet the need. I announced on 18 August an additional £15 million through DFID, for Bangladesh to support the repair, replacement and maintenance of roads and bridges; to provide food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, medial supplies; and to provide funds for cash-for-work programmes to give people affected by the floods the opportunity to earn income to help recover from the floods.

From this £15 million, £1 million has been channelled to the World Food Programme to support their provision of food to those affected by the floods and £2 million has been channelled through UNDP to provide temporary and longer-term shelter to 194,000
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flood affected families, working in partnership with the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED). Another £4 million has been channelled through UNDP to support NGO-managed 'cash for work' programmes. £2 million is being channelled to the World Health Organisation (WHO) through UNDP to provide medical supplies to maternal and child welfare centres and urban clinics. £2 million is being channelled through UNDP to United Nations Children's Fund (UNCIEF) to work with the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) to restore access to safe water and sanitation facilities. DFID's support is contributing to UNICEF's efforts to help up to 30 million people in 40 out of Bangladesh's 64 districts.

The final £4 million will support the Government of Bangladesh's request for emergency financing for roads, bridges and culverts damaged by the recent floods. £3.9 million is for financial aid for emergency repair and reconstruction; and a further £0.1 million for technical assistance to provide oversight to the Roads and Highways Department response.

DFID has also lobbied the EC to increase the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO)'s contribution of €2.9 million (£2 million). The UK Government's support to Bangladesh to ensure it is better able to cope with the impact of disasters, will not stop with the end of this year's floods. The UK Government, through DFID, is providing £6 million over five years to the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme which is strengthening the Government of Bangladesh's capacity to deliver long-term sustainable risk management practices as an integral part of national development planning, and to increase the effectiveness of the Government's emergency responses and post recovery management.

The UK Government are aware that even this generous support may not be sufficient to ensure Bangladesh can recover quickly and rebuild after the floods. That is why I have approved another £4 million today for the World Food Programme's Emergency Response Programme (EMOP), which is currently only 20 per cent. subscribed. This will enable the poorest flood victims to have continued access to food during the period of scarcity, which has followed the floods and may last up to February 2005.

DFID is also providing £7 million over six years to strengthen the World Food Programme in Bangladesh, to better equip them to meet the food security needs of Bangladesh, including in disasters.

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