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Burma

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 12 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what use has been made of the £600,000 made available by the Department for International Development for food aid for the relief of famine in Chin state, Burma, in the light of recent reports that the majority of people in the affected areas have received no food. [HL1156]

DFID’s grant of £600,000 for people affected by food shortages in Chin state is being used by two United Nations agencies and their partners as follows:

The United Nations Development Programme is giving funds to 85 villages in the worst affected areas in southern Chin state to provide food.

The World Food Programme, alongside three non-governmental organisations working in Chin state, is providing a mixture of food and cash for work in 54 villages.

DFID has asked both agencies to investigate reports from Chin organisations that some villages are not being reached by this aid.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme to provide help with logistical support, including helicopter food drops, bulldozers for road access and equipment to clear rivers for boat transport to accelerate delivery of food to people suffering from famine in Chin state, Burma. [HL1157]

The Department for International Development (DFID) regularly discusses with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) their logistic arrangements for delivering food to people who need it in Chin state.

WFP’s view has been that the use of helicopters would not be the most appropriate means of delivering food in the context of Chin state. We will, however, encourage WFP to keep the situation under review and to discuss with the Burmese authorities whether helicopters could be used effectively.

The provision of bulldozers or other equipment to improve roads and clear rivers would not be consistent with the EU common position on Burma.