Skip to main content

East Africa (Crop Failures)

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian consequences of the crop failure in east African countries. (92681)

DFID has been one of the major supporters of the humanitarian response to the failure of the short season rains at the end of 2005. Since then we have committed over £56.2 million to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs. Additional DFID contributions have been made via our support to the UN-managed central emergency response fund (CERF) to which the UK is the largest contributor, and through the EC Humanitarian Office (ECHO).

Prospects are generally quite good for the main 2006 season in east Africa. Crop production is, however, only one of the factors affecting humanitarian needs. While most communities demonstrate impressive resilience in the face of adverse conditions, some remain in need even when crop production is good. There is evidence that in many communities, notably in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea, acute malnutrition remains well above levels that are regarded as sufficient to trigger humanitarian interventions. We will continue to monitor these needs carefully and respond where necessary.

In Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda indications are that the main 2006 crop will be good but there is not yet any quantitative assessment. In Kenya production is estimated to be up 15 per cent. on last year, and the numbers of those estimated to require food aid has been reduced from 3.1 million to 2.4 million. Somalia main season production, normally 80 per cent. of total annual crop production, has been estimated to be 30 percent. down. In general however UN estimates of those in urgent humanitarian need in Somalia are down from 1.8 million to 1.4 million.