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14 May 2008 : Column 1660W—continued

Burma: Storms

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Chinese government on securing access for international humanitarian aid to Burma. [204759]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have spoken to the Chinese Ambassador and the Foreign Secretary has written to his Chinese counterpart. Our Ambassador in Beijing has also lobbied the Chinese Government. As the most important friends of the Burmese regime we want them to exert pressure to ensure that aid flows in the quantities required and the experts are allowed unfettered access.

The Prime Minister intends to speak to the Chinese Prime Minister as soon as possible to underline the need for urgent and strong messages to be conveyed to the Burmese Government pressing them to accept international assistance.

Disaster Relief: Livestock

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is towards support for working animals and livestock in areas of the world hit by natural disasters; and if he will make a statement. [205263]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that many populations in the world rely heavily on working animals and livestock for their household income. Natural disasters can have a devastating impact on livestock numbers and health, cause severe damage to animal shelters and deplete fodder resources. This can result in increased vulnerability and suffering of livestock dependent, populations. DFID's humanitarian policy underlines the need to reduce risk, protect against extreme vulnerability and strengthen social protection for populations.

People who depend on livestock or the sale of livestock products for most of their income and consumption continue to fall victim to disasters, for a complex variety of reasons that include pre-existing vulnerability and also climate change. DFID has recently carried out a review of its work with such ‘pastoralists’ and developed a specific pastoralist policy paper.

DFID has provided funding to humanitarian actors for livestock projects in natural disasters, and will continue to do so where and when necessary and appropriate. DFID is also funding Tufts University’s Feinstein Centre to produce Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) for the design, implementation and assessment of livestock interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises.

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Indian Ocean Tsunami

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of the relief aid pledged by the Government at the time of the Asian tsunami has to date been disbursed in (a) Indonesia, (b) Thailand and (c) Sri Lanka; and how much of that pledged funding remains unallocated. [205262]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) disbursed £64.1 million in humanitarian aid following the tsunami. This amount includes aid-in-kind and contributions to regional projects. In its report of February 2007, The National Audit Office (NAO) declared that it was content that this money was properly and fully spent.

(a) Indonesia

£55 million was committed by DFID for emergency and relief activity. All of this was successfully spent in the months following the disaster. An additional £59.2 million was approved for post tsunami reconstruction. All these funds have now been allocated to projects, and £42,283,677 (71 per cent.) has been disbursed. The remainder is being disbursed when the funds are required for actual project expenditure, and all remaining funds should be disbursed by 31 March 2009.

(b) Thailand

The Department for International Development did not allocate funds for tsunami relief or reconstruction in Thailand.

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(c) Sri Lanka

£4.4 million was committed for emergency and relief activities. All funds were disbursed in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. In addition, £2 million committed for longer-term tsunami reconstruction has been disbursed in full.

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) representations he has received and (b) discussions he has had on the percentage of the funding given by public subscription following the Asian tsunami that has to date been spent by members of the Disasters Emergency Committee on Assistance to (i) Indonesia, (ii) Thailand and (iii) Sri Lanka; and what percentage of that money has to date been spent on (A) administration, including executive travel, (B) human aid to Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka and (C) working animal and livestock welfare in those countries. [205264]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) has neither (a) received representations nor (b) held discussions on the percentage of funding spent in (i) Indonesia, (ii) Thailand and (iii) Sri Lanka by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) resulting from its tsunami appeal. The DEC and its associated non-governmental organisations provide information on the uses to which the funds raised by its appeals are put (see This information is not collected by DFID.

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