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Cyclone Idai

Volume 661: debated on Thursday 6 June 2019

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the crisis, providing up to £36 million. The Disasters Emergency Committee appeal raised another £39 million. That has delivered rapid, life-saving relief, supporting food, emergency shelter, clean water and health equipment for more than 500,000 people across the region affected by the cyclone. We are now focusing on longer-term recovery, and the UK made a further £12.5 million available from existing resources as part of the recent Beira pledging conference.

I declare my interests in southern Africa.

Does the Minister agree that one lesson we need to take away from this appalling cyclone is the need to concentrate on longer-term flood and sea defences? Will she elaborate a bit on what her Department is doing in that respect?

Yes. Last time we had exchanges on this subject, I said that I felt it would be impractical to build a sea wall along what is a long and vulnerable coastline, but we are learning that a lot of things do work well. For example, we are making sure that we work on soil erosion and in terms of mangroves, which can provide resistance. There is a lot to do, and I welcome my hon. Friend’s commitment to increase our research and commitment in this policy area.

Order. We are running late. I will accommodate the remaining questioners on the condition that they confine themselves to a single-sentence question, without preamble. No dilation is required.