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Volume 454: debated on Wednesday 13 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of (a) the humanitarian effects and (b) the likely effects on agricultural production of the recent floods in Haiti; and whether the British Government plans to provide assistance. (108093)

The late November floods in Haiti are reported by the Haitian Red Cross Society to have killed seven people and affected approximately 3,740 families. At least 335 of these families have been evacuated to temporary shelters.

The International Federation of the Red Cross has provided 80,000 Swiss francs for immediate relief and has launched an appeal for US $522,000. The needs are mostly for clean water, basic health care and kitchen, hygiene and sleeping items.

Several non-government organisations (NGOs) and UN agencies are also providing emergency assistance, concentrating on these needs.

The UN considers that the humanitarian needs are being met by existing or pledged assistance.

Agriculture has been damaged, with losses to fruit and vegetable crops and livestock and disruption of transport to markets. According to agencies present in the flooded areas, it is too early to measure the total damage. Some agencies have started distributing seeds and tools and to plan longer-term recovery assistance.

In view of the fact that the Red Cross, UN and NGOs are meeting immediate humanitarian needs, DFID will not be providing emergency assistance. We will continue to monitor the post-flooding needs in Haiti and will keep the possibility of support for longer-term agricultural recovery under review.