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Military Aircraft: Aid

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria determine the use of military aircraft for deploying humanitarian aid. (209651)

I have been asked to reply.

The Department for International Development (DFID) uses military aircraft if they are necessary to deliver humanitarian aid where civil aircraft are not suitable or are insufficient and if military aircraft can be spared from defence purposes. For example, DFID used military aircraft in addition to civil aircraft and other delivery channels in response to the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. DFID and the Ministry of Defence have an agreement for the use of military assets in humanitarian aid, including aircraft, when required and available. Wherever possible DFID will use civil aircraft, to take advantage of their generally greater carrying capacity and availability and in accordance with internationally agreed practice and guidelines (the “Oslo Guidelines”) on the use of military assets in disaster relief. All DFID’s relief flights into Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis have been civil.