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East Africa (Drought)

Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what study the Overseas Development Administration has made of the extent of drought in East Africa ; whether Her Majesty's Government have received any appeals for assistance ; and what response was made.

We have not made such a study, but the problem has been well documented and widely reported : it is also well established that the natural disaster has been exacerbated by the very large refugee population in the area. There have been a number of appeals for assistance by national and international agencies, such as the British Disasters Emergency Committee and the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees. The Government have pledged £850,000 to the UNHCR to help with the situation in Somalia and has spent or committed over £110,000 to assist relief work in Northern Uganda. We are urgently considering what more could be done in Uganda. I am attending the Sudan Government's conference on refugee problems in Khartoum on 20–22 June and hope to indicate there out proposals for poviding help in Sudan.Since March this year the European Community has committed some 9 million European units of account in response to appeals for assistance in East Africa, of which the United Kingdom share is about £1 million.