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Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. (105058)

The DFID office in Harare closely monitors the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, liaising with the local UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA recently issued a Common Humanitarian Action Plan for the coming year in Zimbabwe. Despite good rains last year, Zimbabwe faces yet another year of crisis and food insecurity. While acute malnutrition is not presently at emergency levels, chronic malnutrition remains a serious problem. With inflation at over 1,000 per cent., many poor and vulnerable people in both rural and urban areas will face difficulty in accessing food in coming hungry months.

DFID will spend £33 million in 2006-07 to tackle food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, and in support of orphans and vulnerable children, including a recent pledge of£3 million to World Food Programme for their operations in Zimbabwe in the coming months. This support is all channelled through NGOs and UN agencies—none through the Government of Zimbabwe. DFID Zimbabwe's Protracted Relief Programme addresses food security in a number of ways including the provision of agricultural inputs to the poorest communal farmers and food vouchers for households affected by AIDS, reaching approximately 1.5 million people across Zimbabwe.