HC Deb 06 July 1949 vol 466 c2124
3 and 4. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) why the British Minister of State to the Sudanese Government has refused to permit the Egyptian Red Crescent and similiar Egyptian relief bodies to enter the two North-Eastern Provinces of the Sudan where there is severe famine, in order to bring relief to the starving population;

(2) how many of the population have died as a consequence of the famine in Batana and Budjah in the Sudan; and what steps he is taking to bring supplies to the people.

Mr. Bevin

The hon. Member is misinformed. The Secretary of the Egyptian Red Crescent is at present touring the areas to which he refers and there is close and cordial collaboration in the field between the representatives of the Sudan and Egyptian Governments, the latter of whom are making available additional supplies of grain and clothing. When the threat of famine became apparent in June, 1948, preparations were made to meet it. Supplies of grain were laid by and then distributed where need arose, free, on loan, or on deferred payment. Men have been transported free of cost from the affected areas. Taxation has been remitted or drastically reduced. Communal kitchens and other relief services have been operated. In no place has the situation deteriorated beyond control and no persons have died as a result of the famine.

Mr. Gallacher

If I send the right hon. Gentleman a statement of what has actually happened, will he make further inquiries into what is a serious matter for the Sudan?