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Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of flooding in Northern Kenya. (105067)

DFID has not made any independent assessment of the situation regarding the flooding in northern Kenya. We are however in close touch with the agencies on the ground and the government bodies that are responding to the crisis.

The UN estimates that there are 563,000 Kenyans in eight districts, and 100,000 refugees mostly from Somali origin from refugee camps near Garissa, that are directly affected by the flooding.

The main humanitarian threats are from water borne diseases such as diarrhoea (the Ministry of health has issued a cholera alert), and from the effect of diarrhoea in conjunction with the very high levels of malnutrition in these areas. There is also likely to be an increase in malaria cases, but this is likely to be mainly once flood waters begin to drop and this is not yet happening.

Access is a serious problem with many roads in the worst affected areas being impassable. Part of the funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (to which the UK is the major contributor) is being used to provide helicopters and other aircraft to reach communities in the most inaccessible areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to assist with flood relief in Northern Kenya. (105068)

The UK is providing £1.2 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for its work in addressing the effects of the flooding in the refugee camps located near Garissa in north east Kenya. We have also provided £0.8 million to the Kenya Red Cross for flood relief work among Kenyan populations. Both of these grants are for the supply of relief materials and provision of safe water and sanitation materials. Further contributions are being considered.

The UN has announced that this fund will be contributing $11.8 million for flood relief work in Kenya from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The UK is the largest contributor to this fund and was actively involved in its establishment. The UK also provides core funding to many of the most active agencies on the ground, including UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).