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Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her assessment is of the humanitarian situation in Rwanda. [107712]

Rwanda is a very poor country with a recent history of genocide and great humanitarian needs. Scores against basic humanitarian indicators place Rwanda in the bottom half of most rankings within sub-Saharan Africa. However, the country is recovering from the genocide, and substantial development resources are being deployed in an attempt to lift its people out of poverty.Earlier this year, unseasonably dry conditions over southern and eastern Rwanda in February and early March 2003 raised concerns about food security. However, an assessment in early March found that most household coping strategies (e.g. casual work and informal cross-border trade) were working well. Rains came in mid-March and food insecurity has since eased across the country.We believe that our long-term development partnerships with Rwanda is the best way of achieving a sustained reduction in poverty. The UK committed £35million to Rwanda in the last financial year in addition to our contribution to multilateral funding.