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Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [111526]

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has improved compared to the situation last year, and is no longer an emergency. This is due both to an increased crop yield (up 80 per cent. on the previous year) and to much better snow and rainfall over the winter in both the north and south of the country. which has eased the effects of the persistent drought. Refugees are continuing to return to the country, aided by UNHCR and the Ministry for Refugees and Repatriation, although at a slower rate than last year. Vulnerable households, such as women-headed households, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and disabled people continue to require assistance.Insecurity in the provinces outside Kabul continues to be a concern, and is hampering the operations of NGOs and UN agencies in the southern and eastern provinces. As part of a co-ordinated response with the Afghan Transitional Administration and other international partners the UK Government are considering the deployment of a Provincial Reconstruction Team to one of the provinces outside Kabul. The Ministry of Defence will make a full parliamentary statement on any deployment in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of the money for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, promised at the Tokyo conference, has found its way to Afghanistan. [111781]

US$4.5 billion was pledged by donors at the Tokyo conference in January 2002 over a period of between one and five years, depending on the donor. US$1.8 billion was disbursed last year to Afghanistan. A similar amount has been pledged for the current financial year.Donors such as the US, who had only made one year pledges at the Tokyo conference, used the Afghan Development Forum held in March 2003 to make new pledges. The total pledged now stands at US$5.2 billion.