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Iraq

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are being made to enable members of the public to send support parcels to troops in the Gulf. [106822]

Airmail packets up to 2kg in weight may be sent to named individuals at a subsidised rate equivalent to Royal Mail first class inland postage charges. Due to capacity constraints, there are no parcel services available. I refer the hon. Member also to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 2 April 2003, Official Report, column 912, to my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, North (Mrs. Adams).We encourage members of the public who wish to show their support to make use of the internet Bulletin Board at the BFPO website www.bfpo.org.uk or to make contributions to the UK Forces Gulf Fund.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate has been made of the number of troops required to deliver humanitarian relief in Iraq. [106845]

We have made very clear our commitment to the welfare and future of the people of Iraq, and United Kingdom forces will continue to deliver humanitarian relief to the full extent of their capability where it is needed and it is safe for them to do so. This is not, however, the primary role of our forces, which are structured for warfighting. As soon as the security situation stabilises enough for civilian aid agencies to deploy fully, we will hand responsibility for humanitarian assistance over to them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to enable people in the UK to send parcels to service personnel serving in the Gulf free of charge once the situation becomes more stable. [106848]

I refer the hon Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 2 April 2003, Official Report, column 912, to my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, North (Mrs. Adams).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqi PoWs are under the jurisdiction of British forces. [107115]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 3 April 2003, Official Report, column 782W, to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the extra money announced for the prosecution of war in Iraq will be allocated to (a) mental health services and (b) counselling services for returning servicemen and women. [107169]

The Ministry of Defence does not maintain financial records to this level of detail. Therefore, this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, where such a need is identified and additional funding is necessary, it will be provided.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many coalition services personnel have been injured in operations in Iraq, broken down by country; and if he will make a statement. [107427]

As at 3 April, we had sustained 39 United Kingdom battle casualties.Injuries sustained by other members of the coalition are a matter for them to comment on.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the status of (a) military and (b) civilian personnel captured by UK forces in the Gulf; and whether they will all enjoy the protection of the Geneva Convention. [107428]

Any individuals captured or detained by United Kingdom forces in the Gulf will be afforded the appropriate status and enjoy the protection afforded by the Geneva Convention.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the daily handling capacity of each of the ports in southern Iraq is; what the estimated daily required (a) military supplies and (b) humanitarian supplies are; and if he will make a statement. [107495]

There are six ports in southern Iraq. We are currently conducting an assessment of the facilities at one of these, Umm Qasr. Until this assessment is complete, we will not be able to determine its handling capacity. Reliable information on the handling capacity of the other ports in Iraq is not available.The requirement for military supplies varies according to the needs of the operation and supplies are provided in accordance with those needs. We have no immediate plans to deliver military supplies through Umm Qasr.While combat operations in southern Iraq continue, it will be very difficult to carry out a full assessment of the requirement for humanitarian aid. However, initial assessments suggest a requirement for water, medical supplies and, potentially, food.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of NATO in post-conflict operations in Iraq. [107496]

The issue of whether and how NATO may play a role in post-conflict Iraq will need to be considered carefully and in the light of developments in the region and at the United Nations.We welcome the positive dialogue on Iraq started at the NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting in Brussels on 3 April 2003, but would emphasise that no decisions have yet been taken. It is expected that NATO will take the discussions forward over the next few weeks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the order of battle for the Iraq theatre of war. [107590]

The Order of Battle for the Iraq theatre of operations comprises elements of all three Services, including reserves. On 3 April 2003, around 45,000 personnel were deployed in support of the operation. The maritime force consisted of around one-third of the combined vessels of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The amphibious package comprised Headquarters three Commando Brigade, 40 Commando Royal Marines and 42 Commando Royal Marines with supporting elements. The land force comprised Head Quarters 1(UK) Armoured Division, with support from 7 Armoured Brigade, 16 Air Assault Brigade and 102 Logistics Brigade. And the air package comprised a fixed wing force of around 100 aircraft and a rotary wing force from the Joint Helicopter Command of 77 helicopters.I will place a full Order of Battle in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) British military personnel and (b) US military personnel have lost their lives in friendly fire incidents in Iraq; and how many of these personnel were killed involving friendly fire from (i) British personnel and (ii) US personnel. [107700]

We cannot confirm numbers of dead until formal identification has taken place. As at 3 April, we believe we have sustained 28 United Kingdom deaths (including battle, accidental and natural causes) since operations began in Iraq. Until investigations are complete we are not able to comment on whether they are the result of friendly fire.

Injuries sustained by other coalition members are a matter for them to comment on.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the hazard posed by unexploded cluster munitions to the reconstruction of Iraq following military action there. [102357]

At this stage of the conflict in Iraq it is not feasible to make an accurate assessment of the effects of the use of cluster bombs.Unexploded cluster bombs, and indeed all unexploded ordnance, are a matter of humanitarian concern. As such, we are committed to working towards the clearance of explosive remnants of war as part of the reconstruction of Iraq.