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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what measures are in place to improve the (a) sanitary conditions and (b) water supply in Liberia. [130301]

During the peak of the conflict the NGOs that remained in Liberia managed to ensure a minimum level of water supply to the displaced in Monrovia, but sanitation became a major cause for concern. The current situation is that water supply and sanitation issues are being addressed in Monrovia by the UN, NGOs and the Red Cross with the help of DFID funding, but access to areas outside Monrovia and its environs are still hampered by security concerns.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the security situation in Liberia and its impact on humanitarian relief. [130302]

Security remains the major issue hampering humanitarian access in Liberia and the capacity of ECOMIL to ensure security outside of Monrovia is limited. Access to areas outside Monrovia is being hampered by militia groups and access to other major towns is sporadic.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the availability of (a) food, (b) shelter and (c) medicines for the people of Liberia. [130303]

Food supply and nutritional issues are being addressed by the UN and NGOs. From 16 August until 5 September, the World Food Programme (WFP) has provided assistance to 419,177 beneficiaries with 2,994 metric tons of food. In addition, WFP distributed 337 metric tons of food to an estimated 62,130 people through special feeding programmes, approximately 50,000 of whom were fed under Action Contre la Faim's DFID-funded emergency food distribution.The Red Cross and the UN are addressing non-food items and shelter requirements, and a number of our partners on the ground are supplying medical equipment and drugs to Liberian health centres (Figures currently unavailable).To address all these needs, we have committed £4.7 million to support the humanitarian work of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs. This in addition to the £2.9 million we have provided to international agencies and NGOs in Liberia previously this year.