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5 Nov 2008 : Column 505W—continued

Millennium Development Goals

8. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with his G8 counterparts on meeting their commitments of funding for the achievement of the millennium development goals, with particular reference to Africa. [233028]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have regular discussions with my G8 counterparts in the course of international business in relation to the achievement of the millennium development goals, including at the UN MDG summit in New York on 25 September. The UK is on track to provide 0.7 per cent. of our national income in overseas development assistance by 2013 and we encourage others to do so.

Burma

9. Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Burma; and if he will make a statement. [233029]

10. John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Burma; and if he will make a statement. [233030]

14. Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Burma; and if he will make a statement. [233034]

Mr. Michael Foster: Humanitarian conditions in the areas of Burma hit by Cyclone Nargis have improved significantly since access to international aid was opened at the end of May. DFID has contributed £45 million to the relief effort. However, very many people in the Irrawaddy Delta remain highly vulnerable.

DFID’s pre-cyclone programme of £12 million in 2008-09 continues to help people suffering severe poverty across Burma, as well as Burmese refugees in Thailand.

Kosovo

11. Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian aid his Department is providing to Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [233031]


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Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) is fully engaged in assisting the new country of Kosovo. DFID no longer provides direct humanitarian assistance to Kosovo as this is no longer required, apart from the provision given by the UNHCR to the small number of internally displaced persons remaining. UNHCR has been the sole provider of this support since the UN Administration in Kosovo closed its humanitarian section in 2001.

In 2007-08, DFID provided £3.2 million to Kosovo in development assistance, directed at helping establish effective governance in Kosovo.

Ethiopia

12. Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid his Department is providing to Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement. [233032]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development’s (DFID) programme in Ethiopia is focused on: improving governance and accountability; promoting human development, including better health, education, water and sanitation; supporting sustainable growth; and providing humanitarian support. We expect to spend £165 million in Ethiopia this year, including at least £35 million in response to the humanitarian crisis.

The Secretary of State visited Ethiopia last month to assess the impact of UK support. He commended the good progress made on expanding access to basic services and raised concerns at the humanitarian situation in the Somali region of the country, and the expected impact of proposed legislation to regulate civil society funding and activities.

Horn of Africa

13. Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department is providing for famine relief in the horn of Africa. [233033]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) has contributed over £120 million in 2008 towards unmet humanitarian needs in the horn of Africa. These funds are in support of short-term food aid and supplementary feeding programmes, emergency water and sanitation, as well as medium-term cash and food-based safety net programmes in the worst affected areas.

The Secretary of State, who visited Ethiopia last month to assess the impact of UK support, has expressed concern about the need to expand access to relief operations both in the Somali region of Ethiopia and in Somalia.

Zimbabwe

15. Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. [233035]


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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. [233027]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In a deteriorating humanitarian situation, 5 million people will rely on food aid by early 2009. Cholera risks are increasing, strained health services are collapsing and recent reports suggest only 40 per cent. of teachers present at school. Aid agencies are working to make the best of the next growing season. Zimbabwe will likely remain dependent on food aid for some time to come. DFID will spend £44 million this year meeting basic needs.

Afghanistan: Christian Aid

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of attacks on Christian aid workers in Afghanistan since January 2008; and if he will make a statement. [232124]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not make estimates as to the number of attacks on UK aid workers in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan NGO Security Office (ANSO) produces reports that include details of security incidents involving NGOs. The reports do not disaggregate incidents by faith.

Afghanistan: Health Centres

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funds the Government (a) has provided and (b) plans to provide for the health clinic in Musa Qala, Helmand province, Afghanistan; and when he expects the project to be completed. [232089]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government have provided $308,336 for the construction of the district centre health clinic in Musa Qala. This clinic is due for completion in November 2008, with doctors and support staff ready to start work once the project is finished.

The UK Government also provided $329,777 for the health clinic in Towghli Kell, Musa Qala. This project is now complete and the clinic is open, providing affordable public health facilities to the community.

Afghanistan: Roads

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the condition of the main bazaar road in Musa Qala, Helmand province, Afghanistan; what funding the Government have provided for the reconstruction of the road; and if he will make a statement. [232090]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government, through the cross-governmental Stabilisation Unit, provided $200,000 to pave the 750 metre road through
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the bazaar in Musa Qala district centre. This project was identified as a priority by the local community, and its construction provided employment for local workers.

The new road, with drainage channels, is an improvement on the previous mud track. Alongside other UK-funded road projects in Musa Qala, this project has enhanced the freedom of movement for local inhabitants and provides improved access to market for local traders.

Afghanistan: Utilities

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to improve the (a) electricity and (b) water supply in Musa Qala, Helmand province, Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [232088]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Joint Department for International Development (DFID), Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) funding pays for the fuel for the generator which supplies the main bazaar area of Musa Qala town. The UK provincial reconstruction team has also conducted an electrical survey and general infrastructure assessment of Musa Qala, to help the District Governor and Executive Shura plan future programmes.

Musa Qala also receives electricity from the Kajaki dam on a rotation of two days on, two days off. The Kajaki dam will provide for the long-term electricity requirements in Musa Qala. A large-scale programme to increase the power supply from Kajaki dam is being undertaken by USAID, with security support from the UK-led Task Force Helmand. Power output from Kajaki is due to double by spring 2009, improving electricity supply to Helmand, including Musa Qala.

The UK-led provincial reconstruction team in Helmand, with joint DFID, FCO, and MOD funding, is constructing two water towers and distribution centres in Musa Qala, to supply safe water to the community at a central location.

In addition, with DFID funding, 175 drinking water wells are being constructed in several locations in Musa Qala district through the Ministry of Reconstruction and Rural Development.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response his Department has made to the humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. [233948]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Following a request from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Department for International Development (DFID) is organising relief flights with plastic sheeting, blankets, water purification tablets and buckets for immediate distribution to those in need. DFID funded partners
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are able to get some assistance to those displaced and in need in and around Goma and some of the secure outlying areas. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental partners such as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Merlin and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have been providing immediate relief aid such as emergency food, health, shelter and non-food items.

DFID is one of the largest and most active humanitarian donors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A recent additional £5 million contribution for the crisis in North Kivu brings our total contribution in 2008 to £42 million. We are also engaged with humanitarian contacts, not least as current chair of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group in DRC, to help assess the situation, co-ordinate donors and ensure that together donors respond to priority needs.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Internally Displaced Persons

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of (a) the numbers displaced by the recent fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (b) their humanitarian needs and (c) whether aid is reaching those in need. [233081]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Current estimates of the United Nations (UN) show that 55,000 have been displaced over the past week. This is in addition to some 250,000 displaced since August 2008, bringing the total number of displaced (IDPs) in North Kivu to some 900,000.

From our discussions with UN and NGO partners, we believe the current urgent needs are for food, shelter, non-food items (such as blankets, water containers, hygiene kits) water and sanitation and health.

As access improves and the fighting subsides, some aid is getting through. DFID funded partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental partners such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Merlin and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) are providing immediate relief aid in Goma and/or CNDP controlled areas north of Goma.

DFID is one of the largest and most active humanitarian donors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have recently announced an additional £5 million for North Kivu and this brings our total humanitarian contribution in 2008 for DRC to £42 million. Our assistance will be provided through an in-kind donation of emergency supplies to UNICEF (plastic sheeting, blankets, water purifications tablets and buckets) and financial grants to key partner agencies able to deliver immediate assistance on the ground.

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department is providing to civilians internally displaced by the renewed fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. [233319]


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Mr. Douglas Alexander: On Friday 31 October, I announced an additional £5 million for humanitarian needs in North Kivu, bringing our total support for humanitarian needs in DRC during 2008 to £42 million. Part of these funds are being used for relief flights bringing plastic sheeting, blankets, water purification tablets and buckets for immediate distribution to those in need, following a request for help from UNICEF. We are discussing with UN and NGO partners the priorities for the rest of the £5 million.

In addition, our existing support is being used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental partners such as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Merlin and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide immediate relief aid such as emergency food, health, shelter and non-food items.

Departmental Training

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what personal training courses at public expense he has undertaken since his appointment. [230953]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have not undertaken any personal training courses at public expense since my appointment.

Developing Countries: Agriculture

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department's budget was spent on international agricultural research in each of the last five years. [231674]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) is a major funder of agricultural research. The percentage of the total DFID budget spent on agricultural research in the last five years ranges between 0.70 per cent. and 0.98 per cent. of DFID's overall budget.

Percentage

2003-04

0.80

2004-05

0.98

2005-06

0.79

2006-07

0.70

2007-08

0.73


Overseas Aid: Departmental Coordination

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which other Government departments provided funds to the UN Development Programme as stated in Statistics on International Development 2008, page 124; and how much was so provided in each of the last three years. [232822]


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Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the only other Government Department that provided funds to the United Nations Development Programme, as stated in Statistics for International Development 2008, page 124. The FCO provided £9,360,000 in 2006-07 and £2,707,000 in 2007-08.

Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of people who are internally displaced in Sri Lanka as a result of the recent upsurge in violence; what aid the Government is giving as a result; and if he will make a statement. [231867]

Mr. Michael Foster: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Mid-Norfolk (Mr. Simpson) on 28 October 2008, Official Report , column 936W, and the answer given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 15 October 2008, Official Report, column 1343-44.


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