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Hilary Benn: We certainly will seek to do that. I hope to have available in the next day or so information on the DFID website that will help people who want to offer their skills to direct those to the right place. It is one way in which people want to help and it is important that we harness it in the right way.
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab):
I salute the efforts of the UK Government. One problem
10 Oct 2005 : Column 56
that often arises after such situations is the spread of disease following the interruption of water supply and sewerage systems. What plans are being made, and what steps are being taken, to address those problems?
Hilary Benn: The emergency medical kits that we are helping to fund will be part of that response. I expect the UN appeal will in part look for support to address concerns about disease control and the provision of clean water and sanitation, which is an urgent priority. We will respond to that as soon as we receive it.
Mr. Siôn Simon (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab): The city of Birmingham is a lot closer to Azad Kashmir and Pakistan than can be told from a map. The effect of the tragedy in our communities in terms of grief, loss and trauma is real and as if it happened in our country. Will the Secretary of State say a few more words about what lead DFID could take in giving support and succour inside our communities?
Hilary Benn: Hon. Members on both sides of the House have reflected the concern of the communities that they represent. I hope that people take some comfort from the efforts that we are taking, along with others in the international community, to help the families of those who have lost their lives by providing good information, keeping in contact, reflecting in our work ideas that have been suggested, and just acknowledging that it is a terrible trauma for many people, not just in the areas affected thousands of miles away, but in places much closer to home.
Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas (Crosby) (Lab): My right hon. Friend will be aware that the British Council will fund a number of educational programmes for people from around the world who will come to the UK to study. Given this disaster, would it not be appropriate to make some of those awards available to young people to undertake disaster engineering courses in the UK so that we increase the capacity of countries to manage their own affairs when disaster strikes?
Hilary Benn: That is an extremely good suggestion which I am happy to consider. In making available funding and support we will look at how we can build into it preparation and preparedness to avoid a similar disaster occurring again. That is one of the lessons we have learned from other crises around the world. Engineers will indeed have a major role to play, both in identifying whether buildings are safe and, more importantly, in designing and helping to construct those buildings that we hope will rise from the rubble of this terrible earthquake.
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Secretary of State for Transport told the Select Committee that he would seek our dispensation so that he could today make a statement on financial protection for air passengers. I understand that this, the most controversial part of the Bill, will not be debated during our consideration of amendments. It is worrying that financial protection for air travellers will not be available after two years' consultation, and we are very concerned about that. May I have your guidance, Sir?
Mr. Brian H. Donohoe (Central Ayrshire) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Having tabled an amendment, I was quite surprised to find that it was not in order. As a consequence, none of the major concerns that have been expressed to me can be discussed. I wonder why that is, and I would be grateful for your comments.
Mr. Speaker: I shall deal with the hon. Gentleman's point of order first. Sometimes Members are surprised that their amendment is not in order, but I cannot help that surprise. I say to the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) that the provision concerning the Air Travel Trust in clause 9 is subject to the Ways and Means resolution passed on Second Reading, which relates specifically to a scheme to be funded by air travel organisers. Amendments that go beyond that specific form of funding are outside the scope of the resolution and therefore out of order.
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