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Eritrea: Overseas Aid

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2009, Official Report, column 497, on Eritrea: overseas aid, what steps his Department is taking to increase the access of non-governmental organisations to assist in the development of Eritrea. (307912)

The Government of Eritrea do not consider non-government organisations to have a major role to play in either the development of the country or in addressing relief needs.

The UK Government will continue to press Government of Eritrea officials at every available opportunity to allow aid agencies to operate freely and without constraint for the good of the Eritrean people.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his latest assessment is of the food security situation in Eritrea; what steps his Department is taking in this regard; and if he will make a statement. (307913)

The next three months will be critical for many areas across Eritrea. Poor rainfall, prolonged dry spells and high cereal prices have continued to impact on the food security of large numbers of people across the country. Early crop estimates indicate a decline in cereal production, compared to previously good harvests in 2007 and 2008. Acute malnutrition rates among children under-five continue to rise.

The Government of Eritrea has officially stated that there will be no hunger or food shortages in 2010. They have drawn up plans to meet any food shortfalls nationwide if cases arise.

The Department for International Development (DFID) will continue to monitor the situation closely alongside our relief partners in Eritrea.