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Sudan: Overseas Aid

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made of the humanitarian requirements of the displaced people in the Gereida region of Darfur following the recent withdrawal of independent aid agencies; and if he will make a statement. (145812)

The work of Oxfam and other aid agencies in addressing the humanitarian needs of the 130,000 people in Gereida was exceptional. Their withdrawal is highly regrettable but under the circumstances, they could not place their staff at such a continued risk. Since the evacuation of the other agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as the only agency left, decided to cover the gaps, providing water, sanitation, food, health care, shelter and other household items to the camp and host population of Gereida. As a result of this huge expansion in services, ICRC increased their appeal by £13 million to £44 million. In response, DFID increased its support to ICRC proportionately by £1 million to £4 million for 2007.

The events in Gereida underline the fragility of the humanitarian situation in Darfur. It is only through the admirable work of aid agencies that the four million people dependent on aid in the region have had access to vital assistance and services. The deterioration of the security situation and attacks on humanitarian workers, however, are having a severe impact on getting help to those in need.

I utterly condemn the continuing violence targeting civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur and have called on all sides to cease the violence immediately, renew the ceasefire, reinvigorate the political process and support the rapid deployment of the AU/ UN peacekeeping force for Darfur.