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Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the use of cluster bombs in the war with Iraq on the long-term humanitarian situation in the country. [113738]

We recognise that unexploded ordnance (UXO) is a matter of grave humanitarian concern. The UK is fully committed to facilitating the clearance of unexploded ordnance as part of the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq. De-mining organisations funded by DFID, the UN Mines Advisory Service (£4 million) and the Mines Advisory Group (£81,000) are working with local organisations and the coalition military to plot the locations of all unexploded ordnance and to carry out disposals.Cluster bombs were used in a number of locations by the coalition during the war. As with all other weapons. they were used by UK forces consistent with obligations under international law.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what action he is taking to provide short term housing for the Palestinian refugees displaced in Baghdad. [114282]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has made available emergency supplies for up to 2,000 people, including 400 tents, 1,200 mattresses and 2,000 blankets as well as stoves, jerry cans and soap to help newly-displaced Palestinian refugees in Baghdad. DFID has contributed £1.75 million to UNHCR's Flash Appeal.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what steps are being taken to stabilise mains power supply for use by water plants in Baghdad. [114287]

Maintaining clean water supplies in Iraq has been an immediate concern. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and others, including the UK military, have worked hard to repair water stations and to supply water by alternative means in the interim. In Baghdad power and water are now reaching 80 per cent. of the urban population on an intermittent basis.International agencies including the ICRC and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are now supporting local municipality and electricity board work teams to improve the mains power supply in Iraq, including Baghdad. DFID has committed £16.5 million to ICRC for their work, which includes electricity infrastructure repair. DFID has also provided £7 million to UN DP for its emergency assistance programme in the electricity sector, focusing on central and southern Iraq.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the recent levels of hospital admissions for diarrhoea and the corresponding risk of water related diseases in Iraq. [114288]

It is difficult to establish an accurate picture of disease trends in Iraq, as the former Iraqi disease surveillance system is no longer functioning. The reactivation of this system is a priority for the World Health Organisation (WHO).Recent weeks have shown a steady increase in the number of reported cases of water- related disease in many locations. This is due to a combination of normal seasonal trends including the start of the hot season, inadequate supply of safe water, and poor sanitation. The Iraqi Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and NGOs are currently conducting assessments, and drawing up an action plan to deal with outbreaks of water-related diseases. UNICEF has prepositioned an extra 200,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts, in the region to deal with diarrhoeal disease outbreaks. DFID is donating cholera kits, sufficient to treat 11,000 people, and emergency health kits, sufficient for 10,000 people for three months, to WHO to assist their response as and when required.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development, how many containers for the collection and storage of water have been made available to Iraqi civilians since the end of military action; and whether these supplies have been sufficient to meet requirements. [114289]

This information is not available. However, DFID funding to UNICEF and NGOs has included provision to cover items such as water containers should they be needed, for example for refugees or internally displaced people.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what volume of water treatment chemicals are required per week for use by humanitarian agencies in Iraq; what impact shortages in stocks of water treatment chemicals are having on humanitarian efforts in Iraq; and what efforts the Department is taking to overcome these shortages. [114290]

DFID is not aware of any reliable consolidated estimates of the requirement for water treatment chemicals in Iraq. Water disinfection normally involves treatment using chlorine, and reduction of turbidity using Aluminium Sulphate. One metric tonne of chlorine gas is sufficient to treat water for one million people for one day. The quantity of Aluminium Sulphate required depends on the turbidity of the water. Some shortfalls of stocks have been identified in Iraq, which the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF and the Coalition have taken steps to meet from outside the country. DFID has provided funding to ICRC and to UNICEF for water and sanitation activities including the distribution of water treatment chemicals.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the contingency plans which were put in place before the commencement of military action in Iraq, for the reconstruction of water treatment facilities in (a) Baghdad and (b) Basra. [114305]

Detailed planning for the reconstruction of water treatment facilities was not possible prior to the conflict in Iraq as it could not be known what condition the infrastructure would be in at the end of military action. DFID did however undertake a desk study review of all the reports on infrastructure in Iraq that were available at that time.Maintaining clean water supplies in Iraq has been an immediate concern. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and others, including the UK military, have worked hard to repair water stations and supply water by alternative means In Basra the quantity of water being supplied now exceeds pre-conflict levels. In Baghdad power and water are now reaching 80 per cent. of the urban population on an intermittent basis.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the work done by his Department in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq since the end of the conflict. [114419]

DFID is providing funding and other support to the UN agencies, Red Cross / Red Crescent and NGOs to enable them to provide humanitarian assistance where it is needed. DFID has committed £l15m to support work by humanitarian agencies in the current crisis and has set aside a further £95 million to support emerging humanitarian needs. The attached table shows the detailed allocation of the funding. Supporting such agencies as part of a co-ordinated international response is more effective than running separate national relief operations. DFID looks to the UN to coordinate this humanitarian effort. DFID has also seconded staff to the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs, the UN, and UK forces to advise on humanitarian relief activities.Now that major combat operations are complete, international staff from UN agencies and NGO's have begun returning to Iraq. On 2 May, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, arrived in Baghdad with senior representatives of the World Food Programme, United Nations Development Programme, World Health Organisation and UNICEF to re-establish a permanent presence. The UN's presence is now expanding rapidly, co-ordinated through five regional teams based in Baghdad, central Iraq, the north and in the upper and lower south.

Agreed DFID Emergency Funding for Iraq
Red Cross
International Federation of the Red Cross15,500,000
Support to pre-positioning stocks, deployment of delegates, as well as disaster preparedness/response activities of the relevant National Societies.
International Committee of the Red Cross16,500,000
Support to pre-positioning stocks, deployment of delegates, emergency medical support, water and sanitation, protection and assistance activities.
Total Red Cross32,000
UN Pre-Conflict Preparedness
World Food Programme8,000,000
Food pre-positioning for 250,000 for ten weeks. Upgrading logistics and communications capacity. Activating UN Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) and UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
United Nations Children's Fund2,000,000
Pre-positioning supplies (health kits, birthing kits, therapeutic milk, high protein biscuits, hygiene supplies and mobile water purification units, school in a box, and NFIs. Developing campaign for mine awareness. Enhance capacity of field offices.
United Nations High Commission for Refugees1,750,000
Winter kits for 350,000. Procurement of remaining kits for target caseload of 600,000. Site identification and deployment of additional emergency officers.
World Health Organisation1,000,000
24 emergency health kits pre-positioned. Training on communicable diseases and awareness for CBW. Need to preposition 76 additional health kits and 20 surgical kits. Strengthen field operations, logistics, communications.
Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance150,000
Deployment of personnel to Country Teams and Larnaca. Deploy IRIN officers to Cyprus, Turkey, and Jordan. Develop public information capacity.
Office of the United Nations Security Co-ordinator100,000
Enhance current security structure with 1 Regional Security Coordination Officer, 6 Field Security Officers, oversight and training.
UN Inter Agency Flash Appeal1,500,000
Food and Agriculture Organisation
Support to agricultural and poultry production in war-affected areas of southern Iraq to boost food security and contribute to improving the nutritional status of project beneficiaries in areas targeted.
World Food Programme25,000,000
Support to enable the procurement, transport and distribution of foodstuffs, including operational and logistical support. Support to the provision of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service and the United Nations Joint Logistics Centre.
World Health Organisation5,000,000
Support to the implementation of policy and the operation of the health system, in close cooperation with new national and local authorities, including assessing overall health needs as well as the overall capacity of the Iraqi health structures
United Nations Development Programme7,035,100
Emergency assistance in the electricity sector focusing on Central and Southern Iraq. Work includes assessments and rapid rehabilitation of facilities.
United Nations Children's Fund7,000,000
Support to key activities in water and emergency sanitation, routine immunisation and mine risk education throughout Iraq.
United Nations Mines Advisory4,000,000
Service Support to mine clearance activities and mine action co-ordination throughout Iraq.
Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance750,000
Support of information, coordination and technology in Iraq and the region.
Office of the United Nations Security Co-ordinator500,000
Provide an interim security capability in Iraq. Develop a UN security management structure, capacity to monitor security; provide security advice, develop security structures and procedures.
Total funding to UN Agencies:63,785,100
Emergency health, mobile units, rapid health assessments
International Medical Corps220,000
Emergency Trauma care, primary care for under 5s and pregnant woman and obstetric care
Save the Children UK500,000
Health, non-food items and tracing
HelpAge International150,000
Non-food items, shelter to elderly IDPs and their dependents
Non-food items, shelter to elderly IDPs and their dependents305,834
Assistance and Primary Health Care to southern Iraq
BBC World Service Trust390,600
Emergency radio programme and media audit BBC WST second grant agreed—additional £76,259 for a media audit.
War Child613,133
Emergency bakeries programme
Assistance to IDPs in northern Iraq
Agreed DFID Emergency Funding for Iraq
Mines Advisory80,883
Group Mine action preparedness, mine marking and deployment of coordinators to centre/south Iraq 4RS105,673
Assistance to vulnerable women in northern Iraq
Total NGOs2,926,688
Grand Total Funding Agreed98,711,788
(Total Funding Committed)115,000,000

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what estimate has been made of the cost of additional funding for United Nations aid agencies required to meet humanitarian needs in Iraq; and what additional amount the Government will be contributing to the UN for these purposes. [114420]

On 28 March the UN launched a Flash Appeal for $2.2 billion to which the UK has so far committed £65 million. The Flash Appeal is currently being revised in line with UN humanitarian needs assessments. We will consider further support to UN agencies once the results of these assessments are available and a revised appeal has been made.