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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what steps he is taking to increase food aid supplies in Southern Sudan; and if he will make a statement. [126848]

Urgent humanitarian needs remain in Sludan, including in south Sudan. High rates of malnutrition, epidemic levels of disease, and destitution caused by forced displacement make continued humanitarian assistance necessary. DFID continues to respond by funding humanitarian help. We have committed over £13 million so far in 2003, including a contribution of £2.5 million to the World Food Programme. We recognise that humanitarian needs are likely to increase in Sudan in the event of a peace agreement and are planning for this.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment he has made of the health facilities available in the Abyei county of Sudan. [126850]

DFID has made no direct assessment of the health facilities in Abyei, nor committed funds for Abyei specifically. However, we have contributed £2,500,000 this year to the ICRC as part of their Sudan Appeal which will be directed towards health where there is the most need. We also provide core funding to UN health agencies (eg WHO and UNICEF) who are working in the area. We support emergency health assistance across Sudan and are monitoring the situation closely—should the conditions deteriorate in Abyei we would consider providing support.