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Famine (Africa)

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to combat the famine in (a) Ethiopia and (b) Eritrea. [110710]

Since the beginning of 2002 we have contributed about £21.6 million in food aid and £16 million for other humanitarian support to Ethiopia. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. We have also been promoting co-ordination between Government, UN and donors.A DFID team visited Eritrea in late January this year. Following this visit we have approved about £2.8 million of humanitarian support for Eritrea.In addition to the above humanitarian support that we have provided to Ethiopia and Eritrea, DFID funds about 19 per cent. of EC programmes.Food shortages are a factor of rural poverty. Development assistance that we are now providing to Ethiopia should help to reduce the underlying causes. In Eritrea we are still working with the EU to establish the basis for a development partnership, which should also help to achieve a lasting solution.