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Flooding: India

Volume 704: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proportion of their assistance for the recent flood emergency in the Indian states of Bihar and Orissa has been through local non-governmental organisations. [HL5566]

The Department for International Development (DfID) has provided £1.15 million in response to the floods in Bihar, channelled through UNICEF. Fifteen per cent of this assistance has been directed to local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly those providing support on water and sanitation, hygiene education, and behaviour change.

In Orissa, the Government of Orissa are dealing with the situation adequately and have not requested external support.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many new local channels of humanitarian aid they have identified in Bihar during the recent emergency, inside and outside government; and with what results. [HL5567]

The recent floods in Bihar met with a huge response, much of it outside formal channels. Donations were given by corporate donors, political parties and Indian citizens living in India and abroad. Exact figures are not available. However, we are aware of announcements by at least five major corporate contributors, amounting to over £3 million, and a reported £10 million in contributions from individuals. There has also been some aid provided in kind—such as other states providing teams of doctors from medical colleges. This is in addition to the Government of India's own response of £125 million and 125,000 tonnes of food for the relief efforts, and the response of donors, including the Department for International Development (DfID).

The Government of Bihar have put a system in place to channel individual and corporate contributions to support the state's relief and recovery efforts. This is working well, making a positive contribution to the overall relief effort through the provision of food, clothing and cash assistance to those affected by the floods. Some contributions are taking place outside organised channels, and ensuring the effective co-ordination and delivery of the different resources will continue to be a challenge.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in the light of poverty statistics and recent experience during the flood emergency, they will make Bihar a priority state for the Department for International Development in India. [HL5568]

Bihar became a priority state for the Department for International Development (DfID) two years ago, because of its alarming levels of poverty, its vulnerability to flooding and the commitment of the state government of Bihar to address these problems.