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Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State. Department for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [117163]

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has improved over the last year. This winter passed without serious problems. But poverty is endemic and vulnerable sections of the population (WFP estimates about 5.9 million people out of a population of approximately 25 million) continue to require direct assistance.The security situation in the South is hampering assessment missions as well as food distributions causing some NGOs to suspend or curtail their programmes. In cities, programmes are operating normally but restrictions placed on travel because of security risks have resulted in many NGOs scaling down or postponing operations until the situation improves.In the North East there have been floods because of heavy rain and UNHCR and WFP are providing temporary accommodation and food.More than 100,000 Afghan refugees have returned home so far this year, primarily from Pakistan (65,000) and Iran (35,000), and within Afghanistan, more than 25,000 internally displaced people have gone home this year. DFID will continue to support UN agencies to help meet essential needs of refugees and returnees.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much money was promised by the UK Government to Afghanistan in aid contributions at the Tokyo Summit. [117912]

At the Ministerial Conference in Tokyo (January 2002), we provided £75 million including £12.7 million to help clear Afghanistan's arrears to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. For this financial year, DFID is willing to increase our Tokyo commitment of £40 million per year to £50 million, linked to progress on civil service reform. The joint FCO-DFID-MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool will provide a further £16.8 million this year, in addition, DFID will contribute an estimated £40 million through multilateral channels (EC, IDA).