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Iraq

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what efforts are being taken to ensure that Clause 20 of UN Security Council Resolution 1483 can be met by the interim Iraqi administration. [117028]

Discussions are taking place among Coalition partners on the establishment of the Development Fund for Iraq within the terms set out in UNSCR 1483.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development which Government Department will be responsible for the administration of the Oil For Food programme when the US and UK Governments take over responsibility for the programme as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1483. [117029]

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) will take over responsibility for activities currently carried out under Oil For Food programme. Responsibility for the Government's policy towards the CPA is co-ordinated among several Whitehall Departments, including DFID.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if his Department will work with the United Nations to help draw up a nationwide, cross-sectoral needs assessment in Iraq. [117031]

World Bank and International Monetary Fund economic and social needs assessments will begin in the coming weeks, in co-ordination with work already being undertaken by the UN and Coalition Provisional Authority. DFID's future engagement in Iraq will reflect the needs highlighted in these assessments.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether an assessment has been made of the damage caused to Iraq's infrastructure by recent military action in Iraq. [117035]

We are not aware of any comprehensive assessment of the damage done to infrastructure in Iraq as a direct result of military action. Many of the current problems relating to infrastructure are a result of its poor state of repair from years of neglect before the conflict, and subsequent acts of sabotage and looting.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether the WFP food lifts into Iraq will be extended to September. [117040]

Under the World Food Programme's (WFP) current plans, their food lifts will continue to the end of September. DFID has provided £33 million to assist WFP with their work in Iraq.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether courts are operating in (a) Baghdad and (b) Basra. [117041]

Two courts are operating in Baghdad. Courts have been operating in Basra since 1 June.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether the Department has a plan for repairs and restoration of the electricity network in Iraq. [117042]

The Coalition Provision Authority is working with local Iraqi municipalities, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other humanitarian agencies to draw up plans for the rehabilitation of the electricity sector in Iraq.DFID has provided £7 million to UNDP to carry out emergency repairs lo the electricity sector in the centre and south of Iraq. DFID has committed £16.5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross for their work in Iraq, which also includes electricity infrastructure repair.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what efforts there will be in Iraq to offer retraining to doctors. [117043]

Current efforts to retrain health staff in Iraq are focused on specific priority issues, such as disease surveillance for cholera in Basra. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also provided 32 emergency library kits to update the reference resources of senior Iraqi Ministry of Health staff in all governorates. In the longer term, WHO is planning to support updated training for Iraqi doctors. DFID has provided £6 million to WHO for their work in Iraq.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what efforts are being made to restore public health laboratories in Iraq. [117044]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is carrying out emergency repairs, and restocking equipment and supplies in strategically important laboratories in Iraq, including the Central Public Health Laboratories in Baghdad and Basra.WHO and other humanitarian agencies have assessed other laboratory facilities, particularly in urban hospitals, and judge their overall capacity to be reasonable, although they are only basically equipped. WHO is providing materials to enable these laboratories to perform priority tests. DFID has provided £6 million to support WHO'S work in the Iraq crisis.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether the Department has made an assessment of whether the interim regime in Iraq will be able to take over the food distribution network when the WFP control of the network ends in five months. [117045]

The Iraqi Ministry of Trade is responsible for the public distribution system for food rations, which it has operated since the start of the Oil for Food Programme (OFF) in 1996. On 1 June 2003 Ministry of Trade began distributing food brought into Iraq by the World Food Programme (WFP). Food may continue to be supplied to Iraq, if necessary, by WFP after the end of the OFF.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what agency will deal with property disputes caused by the return of internally displaced persons in Iraq. [117047]

The Coalition Provision Authority, in conjunction with the International Organisation of Migration, is expected to manage issues relating to the return of internally displaced persons in Iraq.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will discuss with the UN Secretary General the possibility of the UNHCR controlling the return of internally displaced persons in Iraq. [117048]

The UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS) reports that the majority of recently displaced people have returned to their homes in the north of the country. UNOPS is currently surveying groups displaced prior to the conflict.In addition, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), working with the Coalition Provisional Authority, is planning for the return of refugees from outside the country. DFID has provided £1.75 million to UNHCR since the start of the conflict to assist with their work in Iraq and neighbouring countries.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what efforts are being taken to pay school teachers in Iraq and to ensure that they receive regular payments. [117049]

The Coalition Provisional Authority has begun to pay salaries to 1.4 million civil servants, including teachers. Payments started on 24 May in Baghdad. Teachers will receive 100,000 Iraqi dinars a month, four times what they earned under the previous regime.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what work the Department is doing with UNICEF to assess educational needs in Iraq. [17050]

DFID has provided £9 million to support UNICEF's work in Iraq, primarily for emergency activities, routine immunisation and mines awareness. Education will be included in the social and economic needs assessments soon to be carried out by the World bank, IMF and UN.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development when refuse collection services will be re-established in (a) Baghdad and (b) Basra. [117054]

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has assisted in the removal of almost a third of the estimated 300,000 cubic metres of backlogged rubbish from Baghdad. The CPA is also planning emergency repairs to Baghdad's refuse centres. It hopes to resume regular municipal refuse collections shortly.A refuse collection service is being co-ordinated in Basra between Coalition authorities and the municipal government.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what work is being done to ensure there is an adequate supply of vaccines in Baghdad when the three month supply recently ordered by UNICEF is used. [117055]

The Oil for Food Programme, which currently has responsibility for the provision of medical supplies, will continue to supply vaccines under the guidance of UNICEF until 21 November 2003. Thereafter, the Coalition Provisional Authority will be responsible for ensuring the continued supply of vaccines, which may be financed through the Development Fund for Iraq, other national financing mechanisms as they evolve, or contributions from donors.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what her Department is doing to restore the medical distribution network in Iraq. [117056]

DFID is supporting the Iraqi Ministry of Health, through the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other humanitarian agencies, to undertake the repair and maintenance of damaged warehouse facilities and to meet temporarily the running costs of the Ministry of Health's procurement and distribution agency. DFID has provided £6 million to WHO for their work in the current Iraq crisis.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether the Department has drawn up a plan to deal with the reintegration of Iraqi refugees into Iraq. [117058]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has drawn up a repatriation plan for Iraqi refugees wishing to return to Iraq. UNHCR is discussing its implementation with the Coalition Provision Authority and the governments of other countries in the region. DFID provided £1.75 million to UNHCR for preparedness work in the Iraq crisis, and will consider further funding requests as they arise.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what efforts her Department is making to help UNICEF reactivate the Targeted Nutrition Programme in Iraq. [117060]

The Targeted Nutrition Programme in Iraq previously worked through community child care units located within primary health centres. UNICEF has made assessments of these units, and has delivered 10,000 cartons of high protein biscuits to those that are functioning in Baghdad. DFID has provided £9 million to support UNICEF's work in Iraq.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many water system specialists the UK has sent to help in the restoration of water services in Iraq. [117062]

DFID's contribution towards the restoration of water supplies in Iraq is being channelled through our support to humanitarian agencies on the ground. £4 million has been allocated specifically for water and sanitation work to UNICEF and CARE. One DFID infrastructure expert is working with the Coalition Provisional Authority on co-ordination with the humanitarian agencies. Further secondments may be made in the coming weeks subject to need.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether a representative from his Department will be attending the weekly meetings between the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq and NGOs in the region. [117064]

A DFID representative will be attending weekly meetings between the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq and NGO's in the region.