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21 Feb 2005 : Column 391W—continued


Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) humanitarian and (b) other aid assistance is being provided by his Department to the Palestinian Lebanese refugees. [215772]

Hilary Benn: DFID provides humanitarian and development assistance to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon through its funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). Since 2000, DFID has contributed over £65 million to UNRWA's regular budget which provides basic education, health and social services to the refugee population. Over 15 per cent. of this funding directly supports those refugees based in Lebanon. Because of the particularly poor social and economic conditions in the refugee camps in Lebanon, UNRWA allocates more per person there than to the other centres in the region.

Rohingya Refugees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes his Department (a) has set up, (b) is running and (c) is funding in Malaysia to assist the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. [216292]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID is not running or funding projects in Malaysia to assist the approximately 10,000 Rohingya refugees from Burma. DFID does not have a programme in Malaysia, which is one of South East Asia's richest countries. EU Missions in Malaysia, at the initiative of the UK, have lobbied the Malaysian Government over the status and treatment of Rohingya refugees, most recently in November 2004 following the Malaysian Government's decision to issue them with identify cards.

DFID's support to Burmese refugees is focused on support to the 185,000 Burmese people living in camps in Thailand. We support the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) in providing food and shelter for those living in the camps. We are also funding the World Health Organisation to co-ordinate health services to refugees on the Thai-Burma border.

South Africa

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the Government of South Africa about (a) acknowledgement of the scale of the HIV/AIDS problem and (b) the allocation of resources and expertise to tackle the epidemic. [215666]

Hilary Benn: The Government of South Africa recognises the scale of their HIV/AIDS epidemic and, since 2000, has increased sevenfold, the amount allocated through the budget to HIV/AIDS programmes. South Africa launched its operational plan" for comprehensive HIV and AIDS care, management and treatment in November 2003. During 2004, more than half a million people undertook voluntary counselling and testing, and more than 50,000 started anti-retroviral treatment.
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DFID supports South African efforts to combat HIV and AIDS through a number of programmes. A £30 million multisectoral HIV/AIDS programme, approved in 2003, provides technical support and advice to Government at national and provincial levels to implement its plans. The programme also provides support to non-governmental organisations and works with the private sector to disseminate best practice.

DFID and British high commission staff in Pretoria regularly discuss both the scale of the epidemic, and the Government of South Africa's response, with their South African Government counterparts.

Staff Identity Passes

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost of producing a staff identity pass was in the Department on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many staff identity passes have been reported lost or stolen in each year since 1997. [215085]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The cost of producing a staff identity pass is £4.57, made up of the encodable pass itself (£3.99) and production costs (58p).

According to available records the number of passes reported lost or stolen since 1998 is as follows:

Figures for 1997 are not available.

Staff Surveys

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what the cost of staff surveys in the Department was in each year since 1997; [213673]

(2) how much was paid to consultants carrying out staff surveys in the Department in each year since 1997. [213665]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development commissioned two staff surveys in 2004, at a total cost of £86,435. The Department has also carried out staff management surveys in 2000, 2001 and 2003. These were undertaken in house and no external costs were incurred

The specific internal costs could not be identified without incurring a disproportionate cost.


Mr. Hume: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the United Kingdom is taking in partnership with other countries to ensure that the food, shelter, sanitation, healthcare and other basic needs of refugees in the Darfur region of
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Sudan are being adequately met; and what steps are being taken to assist in providing protection against attacks. [216664]

Hilary Benn: The UK is the second largest bilateral donor to the Darfur crisis, having committed £62.5 million since September 2003. The UK also contributes around 18 per cent. of the European Commission's €152 million contribution to the crisis. This year the UK will provide £70 million in humanitarian assistance across Sudan. This includes £20 million for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in a wide range of sectors, including food, shelter, sanitation, and healthcare; £5 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 2005 Sudan Appeal; £5 million for the UN consolidated Appeal for Eastern Chad; and an un-earmarked £40 million contribution for the UN Workplan for Sudan, which will allow the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Khartoum to target funding where it is needed most. When making funding allocations, DFID co-ordinates closely with other major donors, particularly the US and EC. The large majority of DFID interventions are jointly funded by other donors.

The UK remains gravely concerned about the security situation in Darfur, and we are pressing all sides to stop fighting and adhere to the Abuja protocols on providing unimpeded and unrestricted humanitarian access and refraining from all hostilities and military actions in the region. The UK has provided some £14 million to the Africa Union monitoring mission in Darfur, including the provision of 143 vehicles; 470 more vehicles are on their way. DFID also funds NGOs and international organisations providing protection to the Sudanese population. One such example is, the ICRC 2005 Appeal, to which DFID will contribute £5 million this year, this includes dialogue with all parties, and interventions to minimise violence due to competition for resources between internally displaced peoples (IDPs), nomads and farmers.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in the Sudan. [217390]

Hilary Benn: UN social indicators for Sudan are among the lowest in the world. Infant mortality is 106–111 per 1,000 live births and in large areas of the country people continue to rely on humanitarian assistance to survive. Needs are huge—the UN Workplan for Sudan requires $1.48 billion for development and humanitarian assistance in 2005.

The recently ended conflict in southern Sudan is estimated to have displaced four million people. Food insecurity is critical and there is little primary health care except that provided by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). However the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in January this year, now holds out the prospect of peace throughout Sudan. Ensuring a stable, sustainable environment for the return of the displaced population will be a critical challenge.

In Darfur the humanitarian situation remains precarious. There are over 1.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs), and a further 200,000 have fled to eastern Chad. The total population affected by the crisis in Darfur is estimated at 2.4 million. Despite
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limitations due to increasing insecurity, the humanitarian response continues to improve. In January 2005 food distribution reached 1.48 million people, some 140,000 more than the previous month. Shelter and non-food items have been provided to 73 per cent. of the IDP population while 56 per cent. were covered by sanitation activities. Of the total affected population, 49 per cent. had access to clean water, 62 per cent. to primary health facilities and 54 per cent. to secondary health facilities. Of major concern, is the observation of the first signs of food shortages among the general population, expected after the failure of the 2004 harvest season.

Other areas of concern in Sudan include the Northern Red Sea State, which has suffered persistent drought and repeated crop failures since 1988, resulting in high food insecurity for the 700,000 population. Agricultural production for 2004 was better than the previous few years, but a large proportion of the population is likely to remain without sufficient food, and will require nutritional assistance for some time to come.

The UK is the second largest bilateral donor to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, having allocated £62.5 million since September 2003. This year the UK will provide £70 million for humanitarian assistance across Sudan.

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