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Famine Relief

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to ensure that the recent £2 million contribution to the Disasters Emergency Committee will be spent on famine relief to benefit starving people, especially women and children; and if he will make a statement.

Her Majesty's Government's contribution to this appeal is being used to respond to specific requests from the charities represented on the committee: the British Red Cross Society, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and the Save the Children Fund. In considering such requests we are concerned to ensure that the aid provided will benefit those most in need, half of whom are children.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to release grain and other surplus food from European Community intervention stores for dispatch to Ethiopia to alleviate the famine there.

European surpluses are being used to help meet famine needs in Ethiopia. This year the European Community has pledged 154,000 tonnes of cereals, mostly from within Europe, for this purpose. In addition, from our own bilateral food aid programme, Britain is providing 37,000 tonnes of cereals, of which 30,500 tonnes are being purchased within Europe.