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Southern Africa

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what emergency aid has been provided to southern Africa in recent months. [129444]

Since September 2001, DFID has provided approximately £120 million in emergency assistance to the six countries in Southern Africa (Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) that have been most affected by the humanitarian crisis over the past two years. Most of this assistance (approximately £90 million) has been provided to Zimbabwe and Malawi, where needs have been greatest. In addition, we estimate that our contribution to commitments by the European Commission to date is around £26 million.Since January this year, over £35 million has been spent on supporting continuing humanitarian operations, particularly in Zimbabwe, but also covering Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Mozambique. We intend to programme a further £40 million of emergency aid to Zimbabwe this year, building on our existing programme commitments, in response to the serious humanitarian needs there. We, along with the UN and other donors, will ensure that our humanitarian assistance continues to be distributed according to need and without political interference.Where immediate humanitarian needs have reduced, as we have seen this year in Zambia and Malawi, we have shifted our support to programmes that support recovery from the crisis, including through provision of seeds and fertilisers. In Malawi, some £9.3 million has been committed for these activities—again with the objective of improving food security at the household level and ensuring that safety nets that cover an appropriate mix of cash, food and subsidised inputs, are available for the most vulnerable. We have also provided seeds and fertilisers in Mozambique and Swaziland and responded to UN calls for support to seed fairs in those countries.Emergency assistance is still needed this year in areas of southern Mozambique, and in Lesotho where the failure of the winter harvest has put more people at risk. We are working to identify where the greatest needs are in these countries and will provide emergency aid to help cover the greatest gaps.DFID is also supporting the work of the UN Regional Inter-Agency Co-ordination and Support team in Johannesburg, which works to co-ordinate and harmonise UN and NGO efforts across the region. We have provided £2 million of support to this team so far, and are looking to continue this support until the end of the current phase of the UN Consolidated Appeal, which ends in June 2004.