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Commonwealth Disaster Force

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what consideration has been given to the proposal by the Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Chigwell, of a Commonwealth Disaster Force equipped, and maintaining a Commonwealth inventory of resources, to deal with earthquake, famine, flood and other calamities.

The proposal to which my hon. Friend refers is contained in a letter which appeared in the Sunday Times of 19th November. This does not appear to be a practical proposal if only because the organisation suggested would cut across the work already performed in this field by the Red Cross. I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Red Cross for the speed and efficiency with which they are able to mobilise relief when disasters occur and to express the Government's gratitude in particular for the help which they have so willingly given within the Commonwealth.