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House of Commons Hansard
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Kerala: Summer Floods
10 October 2018
Volume 647
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2. What steps she is taking to ensure that people in Kerala have access to clean water, sanitation and shelter after the floods of summer 2018. [906948]

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Our thoughts are with the people affected by flooding in India. The Indian Government are leading the response. We have supported the multi-donor Start Fund, which provided £250,000 to help the delivery of emergency assistance. This included the provision of emergency shelter and water purification and hygiene kits.

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Members of the Keralan community across the UK are understandably aghast at recent events. Will the Minister say whether, in the light of this week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Government will heed the advice of the world’s leading climate scientists to enable us to make the rapid, unprecedented and far-reaching transitions that will be needed to avoid similar crises in future?

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We certainly welcome the report, and I hope the hon. Gentleman welcomes the Government’s commitment to contributing £5.8 billion between 2016 and 2020 to make a difference in this area. Since 2011, 47 million people have been helped to cope with the effects of climate change and 17 million have been helped to access clean energy, but there is more to do and we will do it.

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Anyone who has been to Kerala knows it is a beautiful state with beautiful people. Has my hon. Friend had a chance to discuss with UK water companies their charity, WaterAid, and what they can do to help?

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The Indian Government are of course leading on this, and I am sure that they will note my hon. Friend’s suggestion. He has clearly had the pleasure of visiting that beautiful part of India. I should say that Kerala is open again for tourism, and I know that the return of tourists would be welcomed.

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The recent floods in Kerala and other natural disasters in the world tragically highlight the urgency of the global climate crisis. This week, the world’s leading climate scientists stated in a landmark UN report that we have just 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum 1.5º C, and the World Bank has already committed to ending upstream oil and gas projects by 2019. Can the Minister therefore explain what possible reasons there are for the UK to continue to fund fossil fuel use, particularly in countries that are already bearing the worst brunt of climate change?

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I am sure that the hon. Gentleman welcomes the fact that that the UK is leading in terms of our commitment to end the use of coal. We are looking closely at the Powering Past Coal Alliance and leading an effort to get more countries to sign up to that alliance. The UK is showing strong leadership on that, and he should welcome it.