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Iraq

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the frequency of household waste removal in Baghdad. [110968]

Prior to the conflict 2,800 tonnes of refuse were collected in Baghdad each day by a fleet of 480 trucks. We understand that some of these trucks were stolen in the recent looting. Parts of Baghdad remain very insecure and it is unclear at this stage how much of the refuse collection system has been restored. A prolonged absence of waste removal would represent a substantial threat to public health. We are monitoring the situation closely.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what time-frame her Department expects for the restoration of the Oil for Food programme in Iraq at the level of the local distribution centres. [110731]

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that it has made contact with the Director General at the Iraqi Trade Ministry which was formerly responsible for operating the Oil for Food distribution system. WFP understand that the distribution system is in good shape, though their own assessments have been slowed by security and access issues. Distribution is ongoing in parts of northern Iraq and many food agents elsewhere in the country want to resume work and have been reporting to distribution centres. It is not yet possible to provide an accurate time frame for full restoration of local distribution throughout Iraq. My Department is continuing to monitor the situation closely and is working closely to facilitate contacts between the Coalition Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), the WFP and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade in Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in restoring clean water supplies to (a) Kirkuk and (b) Mosul in Iraq. [110732]

The water supply in Kirkuk has been restored, with the exception of supplies to the Central Hospital. The hospital is being supplied by water tankers. In Mosul water supplies have been restored.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports she has received about cholera outbreaks in (a) Basra and (b) Hilla. [110969]

On 27 April, the UN Office of the Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI) reported that the health situation in Iraq in general was stable. The number of diarrhoea cases was within normally expected limits and no measles or cholera cases had been reported. Latest World Health Organisation (WHO) reports confirm that no cases of cholera have been identified in Iraq to date.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports she has received about the adequacy of equipment and quality control systems for preventing blood contamination in Iraqi hospitals. [110970]

Approximately 150 health assessments have been undertaken in Iraq. Results of these are being consolidated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) who are the lead co-ordinator for the health sector. All assessments are available from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) information centre website at: www.agoodplacetostart.orgWe have not received any reports specifically about the adequacy of equipment and control systems for preventing blood contamination in Iraqi hospitals.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the distribution system set up under the Oil for Food programme in Iraq is operational. [110971]

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that it has made contact with the Director General at the Iraqi Trade Ministry which was formerly responsible for operating the Oil for Food distribution system. WFP understand that the distribution system is in good shape, though their own assessments have been slowed by security and access issues. Distribution is on-going in parts of northern Iraq and many food agents elsewhere in the country want to resume work and have been reporting to distribution centres. It is not yet possible to provide an accurate time frame for full restoration of local distribution throughout Iraq. My Department is continuing to monitor the situation closely and is working closely to facilitate contacts between the Coalition Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), the WFP and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade in Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) assessment her Department made of civilian infrastructures and (b) plans were made for the restoration of essential services in Iraq prior to military action; and if she will make future plans publicly available. [110972]

Prior to the conflict in Iraq much of the civilian infrastructure was in a state of disrepair. UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were undertaking programmes to restore these services. The Coalition's military strategy drawn up before the start of the conflict sought to minimise damage to civilian infrastructure.DFID, UN agencies, the ICRC and others prepared for a wide range of humanitarian scenarios prior to the conflict. DFID has seconded two humanitarian specialists, one of whom is an infrastructure specialist, to work with the armed forces (UK 1 Division) and to advise on relief activities.DFID has committed £115 million to date to support the humanitarian response to the crisis through the activities of the UN, ICRC and NGOs. Some most notably the ICRC, were active throughout the conflict in getting water, power and medical services back up and running. A number of agencies have now taken part in initial post-conflict assessment missions to determine the state of essential services and to prioritise the needs for emergency responses.Most agency assessments and future plans are available from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) website at: www.agoodplacetostart.org