HC Deb 30 November 1965 vol 721 cc1207-8
7. Mr. Frederic Harris

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what discussions she had with the Kenya Ministerial delegation on the effects of the drought in Kenya this year; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Castle

None, Sir. This matter was not raised by the Kenya Ministerial delegation during the recent talks.

Mr. Harris

Does the right hon. Lady fully appreciate that the drought in Kenya this year will probably prove to have been the most serious in living memory and that the eventual effect on Kenya's economy must be very serious? When considering financial plans for next year is there any chance that the right hon. Lady might do something about this at a later date?

Mrs. Castle

My Department is responsible for development aid and not for emergency or famine relief, which is a matter for the Commonwealth Relations Office. The Kenya Government did not raise the subject of famine specifically in the context of the talks we have recently had but, as the House will be aware, during those talks we were able to agree a substantial continuing aid to Kenya on the agricultural side.

Mr. Paget

Is it not true that there is at the moment a definite famine in Kenya, and that people, particularly children, are facing starvation? Whichever Department is concerned, cannot something be done?

Mrs. Castle

Of course, we are aware of this and we deplore it, and I understand that the Kenya Government have asked that R.A.F. aircraft stationed at Nairobi should be available if required for famine relief operations, but I must repeat that this is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.