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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 if he will make a statement on the measures his Department is taking to improve facilities for the treatment of cholera patients in Liberia. [126846]

We have allocated £1.5 million for humanitarian relief since the increase in violence several weeks ago in and around Monrovia. To date just under £1.2 million of this has been committed, to ICRC, Merlin and Save the Children (UK). All three agencies are using our funding in whole or in part for health services. We do not know precisely what proportion of these funds is assisting cholera victims.Although the security situation makes it difficult to be precise about case numbers and morbidity rates, estimates from sources on the ground suggest that there have been about 1,630 cases in the current cholera "season", including 15 deaths. Reports from Merlin say that in their areas of operation the situation has improved slightly. It is essential that access is given to national and international agencies to improve water supplies and sanitation.