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Iraq

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs regarding humanitarian aid to Iraq (a) during and (b) after the war. [106864]

I discuss humanitarian assistance and planning for Iraq regularly with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian aid has been delivered in Iraq. [106865]

Stocks have been pre-positioned in country and in surrounding areas and are being utilised as required and in line with the evolving security situation on the ground.In the north, UNICEF has brought in limited supplies, the Mines Action Group (MAG) is undertaking mine clearance, the World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered food, and the World Health Organisation is supporting local health providers to assess disease outbreaks.In Baghdad controlled Iraq the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working with local technicians to repair water and power supplies in seven Baghdad hospitals and to provide drinking water.In the south the coalition military are discharging their humanitarian obligations under the Geneva Convention and Hague regulations in order to provide relief in the interim in the territory they occupy. UN agencies and NGO's are now beginning to enter. The ICRC has been repairing water and power supplies at the main Basra pumping station and distributing medical supplies. UNICEF has begun to distribute clean water and emergency kits; the International Medical Corps (IMC) has begun to provide assistance to the hospital in Umm Qasr; and Caritas Iraq has sent emergency medical supplies from Baghdad to Basra. The Coalition military has completed a 3.5 km water pipeline from Kuwait to Umm Qasr allowing water to be delivered to surrounding populations.This is far from a complete picture. Our daily published reports contain further information on humanitarian assistance in Iraq and are available from the Commons Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the United Nations regarding humanitarian aid to Iraq. [106866]

I visited New York and Washington on 19–20 March to meet the United Nations Secretary General and others to try to ensure that proper preparations are being made for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in Iraq. Since then, I have had discussions with other UN officials including the Executive Directors of the World Food Programme and the United Nations Population Fund. I will be visiting New York again this week for further discussions.

My Department is in daily contact with UN humanitarian agencies through the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) based in Cyprus, to which we have seconded two members of staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2003, Official Report, column 353W, why officials from her Department were not previously in a position to meet with local Iraqi non-governmental organisations. [106924]

DFID officials have not been able to meet local Iraqi NGOs due to the security climate in Iraq. DFID has on-going programmes of support in the North of Iraq, through Save the Children UK; HelpAge International; Christian Aid; Response Relief Resettlement and Rehabilitation (4Rs); A Community Oriented Rehabilitation Network (ACORN) and Care in the Centre/South. All of these work extensively with local Iraqi people and local NGOs to implement their programmes.Any new or future support in Iraq will similarly seek to maximise partnerships with local Iraqi organisations.