HC Deb 19 December 1990 vol 183 cc289-99 3.31 pm
The Minister for Overseas Development (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a statement about famine relief for the horn of Africa.

Last week, we received the preliminary findings from missions which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation mounted to Ethiopia and to Sudan, to assess the 1990 crop situation, and predict the likely food needs in 1991. The reports make it clear that the outlook for the horn in 1991 is of the gravest concern. There have been serious crop failures in both countries, compounded by civil war. The horn is facing a famine at least as bad as the 1984–85 disaster, when upwards of 1 million people died. In 1991, as many as 10 million people could be at risk of starvation.

On our present information, Sudan and Ethiopia are likely to be the worst hit countries, but Somalia could suffer, too. There are similar problems in all three countries, but there are also important differences. Government intransigence in Sudan makes famine relief difficult. Widespread violence and disorder in Somalia makes any relief effort difficult to mount. We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance for both countries where we can find effective ways of doing so, but we must also continue to press these Governments to assume their responsibilities.

In Ethiopia, we have pressed all sides to respond positively to the renewed crisis. The Government and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front have announced their agreement to reopen the port of Massawa to food shipments made under United Nations auspices. This is a major step forward, enabling us to provide relief more efficiently to people in Eritrea, including the Asmara area; and possibly also to Tigray. It was not an easy decision for either side. We should congratulate them. The House knows that the only long-term solution to Ethiopia's problem is to end the war. The peace process is progressing slowly. I hope that, if Massawa reopens, as agreed yesterday, it will signal a new effort by all sides to reach a just and lasting settlement.

However, peace cannot come in time to solve the problems of this year's failed harvest. I know that hon. Members will agree that we must help to avoid a repeat of the catastrophe that we saw in 1984–85. We are certainly better prepared and informed than we were then. My Department has been monitoring the situation closely, and earlier today I held one of my regular meetings with British non-governmental organisations to discuss the crisis.

We have already provided £23 million emergency aid for Ethiopia and Sudan so far this year, and £56 million since the beginning of 1989. The British Government were among the first to respond to early indications of food shortages in the two countries by providing £5 million since October for food aid and transport. The FAO reports indicate a much greater need ahead which will need to be met through a major international relief effort.

I have decided to make a further £5 million available immediately from the Overseas Development Administration's existing reserves for the two countries as the Government's first contribution to this effort. Most of the new emergency relief aid will be channelled through British non-governmental organisations, with which we are in close contact. I have been talking to them today about the most effective way of spending the money. It will help to buy food and medical supplies, and vehicles to transport them to the needy. We will also make some funds available for international relief agencies. I stress that this is our immediate response to the emergency. We are ready to provide more help as the relief requirements become clearer. I intend to visit Ethiopia next month to see the situation for myself at first hand, and I shall go prepared to provide more emergency aid.

The British Government have played a leading role in mobilising a new relief effort for the horn, but we cannot possibly hope to tackle all the problems on our own. I have already encouraged my colleagues in the European Community to follow our lead. I hope that, over the coming months, they, the countries themselves and the international community will come together in a partnership which will help the desperate people in this famine-stricken region.

Mrs. Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley)

On many occasions over the past few months, the Opposition have been extremely critical—and rightly so—of the Government's overseas development policy. On this occasion, however, and not simply because we have entered the season of good will to all humankind, we congratulate the Minister on her rapid response to the serious famine in the horn of Africa.

None of us can forget the horrific pictures shown on television during the 1984–85 famine, when at least 1 million people in the horn starved to death. We never want to see similar scenes again. It is, however, clear from estimates by both the United Nations and the voluntary organisations that a famine on a similar scale is now looming. The Minister's decision to provide £5 million immediately for Ethiopia and the Sudan is, of course, welcome, as is her assurance that it is the first and immediate response to the emergency, and that more help may be in the pipeline.

I am sure that the Minister will join me in hoping that, when the Disasters Emergency Committee launches an appeal in January, the British public will once again demonstrate their tremendous concern and generosity. It is clear, however, that much more will need to be done. In the disastrous year of 1985, the United Kingdom Government gave £28 million to Ethiopia in emergency relief—equivalent to £36 million in today's prices. Does the Minister agree that that effort must be not only matched but exceeded this time?

I share the Minister's view that the Sudanese Government are intransigent; they are also callous and ruthless. But the voluntary agencies can reach the starving people, and donors should therefore do everything possible to support their work. Does the Minister agree that the donors must not withhold emergency aid, however much they wish to change the policies of the Government concerned? Changing those policies will be a long-term process, and the hungry cannot wait.

As for Ethiopia, I welcome today's news that agreement has been reached to reopen the port of Massawa. That is an event for which all of us have waited for many months. As the transporting of food to people in Eritrea and Tigray is particularly difficult and expensive, will the Minister say what aid her Department plans to give towards the cost of transport?

May I remind the Minister that, in addition to the Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, an estimated 4.5 million people in Mozambique, Angola and Liberia are also in desperate need of food aid. May we expect a statement on those countries early in the new year?

I agree with the Minister that in the long term only an end to the bitter conflicts that have raged in so much of Africa will enable the people to feed themselves. In the meantime, however, there is so much that donors can and should do. Did we not prove last year, when famine was averted, that the international response can be very effective? Although world attention has been focused on eastern Europe and the Gulf, it is essential that we do not ignore Africa.

This year the challenge is even greater, but, to put it in perspective, the cost of British forces in the Gulf is running at £24 million each week. That is more than Ethiopia and the Sudan have been given in total by the Overseas Development Administration this year. It is less than they will need over the months ahead.

Finally, will the Minister continue to keep us informed about Africa's food needs and about the Government's response, as the need arises, by making further similar statements in the House?

Mrs. Chalker

I begin by thanking the hon. Lady for welcoming my statement. There is absolutely no doubt about the immediate needs or about what we have to do to respond to them. I have already told the Disasters Emergency Committee that it will have my fullest backing when it makes its appeal to the British public on 8 January.

The hon. Lady referred to the position in Ethiopia in 1985. We shall certainly at least match what we did that year. However, we have done a great deal more work between the disaster of 1984–85 and the one that now faces us, as the figure of £56 million that has been spent in the last two years in Ethiopia and Sudan—without taking into account today's announcement—clearly shows. What we have to do is use every diplomatic effort that we can, although the Government of Sudan listen to no one and do not admit the size of the disaster that faces their people.

I agree with the hon. Lady that we should seek to get the food through, but a logistical problem faces the non-governmental organisations. Even with the welcome reopening of the port of Massawa, cross-border help will be needed to get food into Ethiopia. The areas of Sudan that are most badly affected—northern Darfur, northern Kordofan and the Red sea hills area—will also need a great deal of help. The Government of Sudan may prevent the non-governmental organisations from doing what they want to do and what we are prepared to pay for. We have to face that fact.

As for the hon. Lady's questions about Liberia, Mozambique and Angola, we have already given £2 million to Liberia this year, including the money to the Save the Children Fund that was announced yesterday by the fund as special help for the refugees. I took help with me when I went to see Liberian refugees in Ghana. We have given further help to Sierra Leone, which is looking after the Liberian refugees as a result of the war.

In addition to the money that I have announced for Ethiopia and the Sudan, later I shall be making an announcement about £1 million of aid for the Mozambiquan refugees who are in Malawi, a further £500,000 worth of food aid for Mozambique and £700,000 worth of food aid for Angola. Those countries also need our help. I assure the hon. Lady that they are not forgotten. However, the horn of Africa problem is very much more serious than the problem in all those other countries—although, of course, every starving person needs our help.

We have been giving help over the years and we shall continue to do what we can, but I would welcome all the help that we can get from our European Community partners and from multilateral donors to ensure that this is a worldwide effort and that it saves the lives of 10 million people.

Mr. Timothy Raison (Aylesbury)

I strongly support what my right hon. Friend has said and all that she is doing to tackle the threat of this appalling and ghastly tragedy in the horn of Africa. I agree with the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) about how crucial it is not to forget Africa at this time. Is my right hon. Friend fully satisfied that the machinery for co-operation in the Sudan and Ethiopia is satisfactory? She will no doubt recall that in the 1984–85 famine getting effective machinery of co-operation going was of paramount importance, and in due course I think that that was achieved. Is she satisfied that that is already in place, and does she believe that there is anything more that we, the European Community or the international community can do to bring pressure to bear to end these appalling and ceaseless civil wars in the two countries?

Mrs. Chalker

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his welcome for the statement; I know how much he did in 1984–85. We are aware that the machinery for co-operation in Ethiopia has improved this year, because in March we worked together to establish the southern relief line, which has saved some lives in Tigray and southern Eritrea this year. I hope that the Government of Ethiopia and the Eritreans and Tigrayans will work together, but we shall need constantly to work with them to ensure that that does not break down. Whether it be bringing food in through Massawa or a continued use of the southern relief route, both will need working at.

I am afraid that the situation in Sudan is very much worse. Operation Lifeline in Sudan is almost non-workable at present. That is one reason why I am so downhearted about how much we shall be able to do, despite our willingness to help the people of Sudan.

There is more that the Community can do and I shall be in touch with the Commissioner for Development about getting food aid released more quickly from the Community. I shall ask my colleagues in the United Nations and in other countries to bring what diplomatic pressure they can to bear, particularly on the Government of Sudan, to bring this tragedy in their country to an end.

Sir David Steel (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)

The Minister has given the House a most sombre statement. I thank her for her immediate response and for the leadership that she is giving by trying to encourage the European Community to do more and by her visit to the area next month.

What is the Minister's response to the points that I made in Friday's debate—that the public, who responded generously to the Live Aid appeal five years ago, will look with horror at these conditions recurring? What has been done in the long term, first, to take an initiative at the United Nations to stop the supply of arms to Africa, without which these civil wars could not continue, and, secondly, to supply technical assistance and personnel to develop irrigation, schemes, particularly in this part of Africa, and drought-resistant crops?

Mrs. Chalker

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his comments. The long term will be possible only when war ceases. I have spoken to United Nations representatives on many occasions about trying to bring peace to the area. Bilaterally, many other Governments of the same view as us are also trying to do that. When I was in Ethiopia in March, I spent quite a long time with the Soviet ambassador and spoke to my American colleague. There is no doubt that everybody who is involved in Ethiopia is trying to achieve an end to the war. The difficulty in Sudan is, first, that we cannot get to people who might make that decision and, secondly, that they are not listening to what the international community or bilateral donors are saying.

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman about the importance of irrigation, and we hope to be able to mount an effort on such projects. Until the war ceases in both those countries, however, I am afraid that we are in a desperate situation.

Mr. Richard Luce (Shoreham)

I, too, warmly welcome the prompt action of my right hon. Friend. Is not it a devastating condemnation of the Government's of Ethiopia and Sudan that the aid is coming from the outside world despite the existence of those Governments and despite the obstacles that they have put up? Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is important that the outside world should realise that those Governments are doing absolutely nothing to help their people?

Mrs. Chalker

It is certainly true that the Government of Sudan are doing absolutely nothing to help, but some progress has been made in Ethiopia. I do not believe that enough has been done because there is still a military stalemate, but at least there are signs that that Government are prepared to talk.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his remarks. We have been active in trying to secure peace in Ethiopia, as have the Arab countries. Although Ethiopia is moving away from its former Marxist-Leninist ideology, there has been little real political reform and there is a long way to go. However, at least that Government are seeking to co-operate in this humanitarian effort and, on the back of that, I hope that we shall get the peace process moving once again. The United States has sponsored talks in the past and I hope that we may have another round of talks early in the new year.

Mr. Jack Ashley (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

Although the Minister's personal efforts are appreciated, how can she equate the statement that 10 million people are facing starvation with her statement that we are giving only a further £5 million? Surely the extent of the action does not match the need and the Treasury should be told that in forthright terms. The Minister spoke of aid increasing when the relief requirements are better known; thus she implied that she does not know those relief requirements now. Surely she already knows those requirements.

Mrs. Chalker

The £5 million is in addition to the £56 million that we have already given to Ethiopia and Sudan in the past two years. I also made it clear that the non-governmental organisations will be able to use that amount for transport, drugs and food in the near future. As the situation evolves, we shall be able to assess what else is needed. Today, however, I would be wrong to commit other moneys until we have more information than we have yet been able to receive. However, I thought it wrong that the House should rise for Christmas without at least informing it of the major crop failure in Ethiopia and Sudan and of the first steps that we shall take in 1991 to deal with it.

Sir Dudley Smith (Warwick and Leamington)

My right hon. Friend mentioned that the European Community countries may help. Surely this is a classic example of where the rich European Community should spearhead the effort.

Mrs. Chalker

We want to encourage the EC to assist. There is absolutely no doubt, however, that those of us who have staff on the ground can help the NGOs, which are likely to be more effective. I hope that the EC will soon reappoint its delegate to Khartoum, who has been absent for more than six months.

Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South)

The Minister will be aware that the people of Northern Ireland are extremely concerned about overseas development aid and the particular needs of the horn of Africa. Therefore, on their behalf, I welcome the realistic statement and the practical steps that are now being taken. Bearing in mind the fact that getting food to the places of real need poses a problem, has any consideration been given to extending the "days of tranquillity" scheme operated by UNICEF, which prevailed upon people to allow inoculation and immunisation programmes to be carried out? If Governments co-operated in such a way, is it possible that immediate aid could reach those places of real need?

Mrs. Chalker

I thank the hon. Gentleman for welcoming the statement. We have worked with UNICEF, but that is only one way of helping. We need to use every possible channel if we are to avert this disaster. That is why I have worked with the British, as well as the international NGOs to seek to obtain food and medicine and the necessary transport to take them to where people are suffering.

Mr. Robert Banks (Harrogate)

May I add my welcome for my right hon. Friend's statement? Does she recall that we have long and historic links with the Sudanese people? She will no doubt agree that the decline of that nation and the continuing civil war in that country is a terrible tragedy for all the people involved. Will she alert United Nations opinion and opinion in countries such as Saudi Arabia to the need to put pressure on the Sudanese Government to facilitate the passage of emergency supplies to southern Sudan and the disposal of those supplies in a reliable manner?

Mrs. Chalker

We shall do all that we can with not only the United Nations but other nations which may have influence over Sudan. However, in Sudan there is a fundamental regime with a poor record on human rights which is deteriorating even further. The fundamentalists seem to be strengthening their position, and the security situation is extremely serious. I could say many other things about Sudan, but for the purpose of my statement I shall say only that we shall try to get food to the starving people of that country as well as trying to bring about peace in some way.

Mr. Tom Clarke (Monklands, West)

Will the Minister assure the House that, if during the recess it is necessary to add to the funding that she announced today, she will do so? Will she clarify whether the extra funds are new money or whether money has been taken from some other aspect of the overseas aid budget? She mentioned Angola. Can she report to the House on whether any progress has been made in the talks with UNITA? Clearly, the war in Angola is no more helpful than war anywhere else.

As, sadly, what the Minister outlined today was both predictable and predicted, can she confirm that the Government will struggle for a long-term solution to the appalling, recurring problems?

Mrs. Chalker

The money comes from my aid budget, from funds specially allowed for disasters such as this. However, if I have to resort to the unallocated reserve for more money, I shall take the decision to do so. With starving people at risk, I did not want to wait for the House to return before making a decision. As a Minister, it is my responsibility to make a decision and inform hon. Members as quickly as possible.

Although Angola is outside the terms of the statement, I can inform the hon. Gentleman that progress has been made. United States and Soviet Foreign Ministers' representatives hope that we may work towards peace in that country before too long.

Mr. Roger Knapman (Stroud)

The agreement to open the port of Massawa is certainly good news. Have British diplomatic initiatives to President Mengistu helped to bring about that and other improvements?

Mrs. Chalker

I spent almost three hours with President Mengistu in March this year. I was at least able to establish some of the essentials of what feeding a starving nation would mean if we were faced with famine, as we now are. A few weeks ago I was in touch with him again specifically to discuss the port of Massawa. Although I in no way claim to have changed his mind, the pressure from British diplomats, myself and other members of the European Community, whom I alerted to the need to take such action, will have helped.

Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)

Will the Minister give us an assurance that the welcome pledge of assistance is not merely a one-off Christmas gesture and that she will do everything possible to ensure the continuity of funding for emergency famine relief and long-term development projects? In Ethiopia alone, over 4 million people depend on emergency relief to supply them for the coming year. It is deplorable that the British Government are still a long way from achieving the United Nations' target of spending 0.7 per cent. of our gross national product on aid and development.

Mrs. Chalker

Funding for humanitarian aid is quite secure and we shall do what is necessary. Long-term development aid to the Sudan will not continue, because we simply cannot operate a system of development aid while that country is at war. We hope that there will soon be peace in Ethiopia and that we shall be able to do something further to help. Rather than simply pouring in humanitarian aid, we hope to do something in the long term which may prevent that from being necessary. Throughout a period involving cycles of drought and therefore famine, we must rely on the Governments of he countries concerned to realise that they cannot always be bailed out by the rest of the world. Until they bring peace in their countries, no one—with the best will in the world—can protect all those people from starvation.

Mr. Michael Colvin (Romsey and Waterside)

To what extent is the human rights record of the countries concerned taken into account in determining humanitarian aid? In that connection, does my right hon. Friend acknowledge the value of strong economies in the region in creating a locomotive effect that helps other countries? Will my right hon. Friend confirm that she will continue her aid programme to Kenya, which has shown a considerable improvement in its human rights record over the past few months?

Mrs. Chalker

Wherever countries pursue a sensible economic reform programme, there is a spin-off for neighbouring countries. That is very welcome and we seek to reward it in our general development programme. That applies to Kenya and to many other countries in Africa —22 in all—which have structural adjustment programmes. We seek to give humanitarian aid irrespective of the behaviour of the Government, and I believe that to be right. We are stopping development aid to Sudan not only because we cannot deliver it but because that country has one of the worst human rights records in the region.

Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)

I warmly welcome the announcement today, but will the right hon. Lady direct her attention and that of her fellow Ministers in the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to early-day motion 252, which appears on the Order Paper for the first time today? Is not it true that developed countries are contributing to the long-term problems in the underdeveloped world by selling arms there? The early-day motion calls for an international crusade to put a stop to the sale of arms to such countries because it distorts their economies and results not only in casualties on the battlefield but in millions of people starving throughout the world. Will the right hon. Lady consider closing the Defence Export Services Organisation, which not only sells arms to those countries but encourages arms sales above the sale of other export materials?

Mrs. Chalker

I know for a fact that the organisation mentioned in the early-day motion does not export arms to either of the two countries to which we are referring today. I note the motion, but I also note, as I have said many times, that until the countries agree to find a way to peace—that means stopping the import of arms—the horrendous problems that they now face will not cease.

Mr. Jim Lester (Broxtowe)

I thank my right hon. Friend for her prompt action and her statement, and welcome the co-operation which is emerging in Ethiopia. I wish to concentrate on the Sudan. Can my right hon. Friend confirm that, despite the intransigence of the Sudanese Government, many of our non-governmental organisations, which continue to work there under difficult circumstances, have established excellent relationships with regional government, village councils and people on the ground? We need efforts—whether by the international agencies, the United Nations or other Arab and Africanx countries—to persuade the Sudanese Government that the well-tried method of feeding people through NGOs is in no way undermining their authority but the best possible way in which we can serve the people whom they, too, are supposed to serve?

Mrs. Chalker

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I sincerely hope that the efforts of the regional Governments in backing the non-governmental organisations to feed the people of Sudan will succeed. It is a matter of persuading the Government of Sudan not to interfere, stop the supplies of food and fuel, or stop transport routes. We must use diplomatic efforts with the Government of Sudan. I was pleased to welcome our ambassador from Khartoum to our briefing meeting today with the NGOs so that he could hear from them at first hand and talk to them. We shall do all that we can, but I think my hon. Friend knows the limitations of the position in Sudan, however hard we and the NGOs try.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

I congratulate the Minister on her swift response to the report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and on the research of her civil servants. But the FAO report refers to 10 million people at risk. Does it refer to a cash estimate of the total amount of aid required to secure the future of the people in the horn of Africa? Does it give no figure at all?

Mrs. Chalker

I do not have the report with me and am unable to give the exact reference at present. There is no specific recommendation—that is not the way the FAO works. The report contains a request to the whole international community and all donor Governments, not simply to the British Government. We shall play our role in providing money and food, and helping the NGOs to deliver them. We shall also play a political role, but other countries must help—it cannot all be left to Britain.

Mr. David Wilshire (Spelthorne)

It goes without saying that I welcome this afternoon's statement, but will the Minister say something further about distribution? She will be aware that nothing discourages public generosity more than pictures and stories of aid piled up high, not reaching the people whom it is meant to help. Is she able closely to monitor distribution in those countries and what plans does she have to ensure that the British public is aware of how effective the aid is being because that is the best way to encourage them to be even more generous?

Mrs. Chalker

I fully understand what my hon. Friend is saying. We have to rely on the world food programme and the NGO officials to monitor developments and ensure that the food gets to its intended recipients. They have done so successfully in the intervening period since the last famine, and I have every confidence of their being able to do so in the future. We could not achieve that as a Government ourselves, but we shall seek to ensure that there are not only adequate, but reported assessments of the food getting to the people. We must ensure that those reports are made known in this country and to other public donors.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

The Government have a cheek to talk about peace in the horn of Africa when, only a couple of thousand miles away in the middle east, they are preparing for war and are going to spend millions of pounds to carry it out. The Government should use all the time, energy and resources that they are spending in the Gulf to help the poor in the horn of Africa and elsewhere. If the conflagration takes place in the Gulf after January, the total spent there will be even higher. Why does not the Minister tell people in the Common Market that, instead of pottering about with single currencies and all the rest, they should carry out the terms of Lomé convention to feed the third world? That would be better than piling up the surpluses and burning them. Why not feed the people instead of using guns?

Mrs. Chalker

There is absolutely no way in which food in the Community that can be used—I emphasise the word "can"—for the people of Ethiopia and Sudan will not be so used. Any Government, like the Government of Sudan, who are prepared to back to the hilt the man, and the Government, who invaded Kuwait need to look at their own countries and people first. We shall do all that we can to achieve peace in the countries under discussion this afternoon and find a peaceful means of withdrawal from Kuwait by the Government of Iraq.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood)

I thank my right hon. Friend for her thoroughly positive statement and her personally constructive role in bringing relief to the hard-pressed countries of the horn of Africa. When she goes to Ethiopia, and if she sees the Soviet ambassador, will she make it clear that it is unacceptable for the Soviet Union to supply arms to the Government of Ethiopia, particularly to maintain the Soviet-equipped Ethiopian air force? There is little point in supplying aid to the miserable people of the Tigray and Eritrea one day if they are to have the life bombed out of them the next by the Soviet-equipped Ethiopian air force.

Mrs. Chalker

I spoke about this matter in March with the Soviet ambassador, but it is not just a question of arms from the Soviet Union. The Ethiopian Government have been purchasing them from other places, and arms have gone to the Eritreans and to the Tigrayans to further their struggle for independence. Until we can proceed with the talks that the United States has started on Ethiopia, I fear that we shall not persuade one nation to stop supplying arms. All nations must stop supplying them.

Mr. Jacques Arnold (Gravesham)

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on yet again ensuring that British emergency aid relief gets through as urgently as possible. Is it not true that changing the policies of Ethiopia need not be a long-term process, as suggested by the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd), even if the effects of such a change might be long term? Does my right hon. Friend agree that change by the Governments in this area is necessary, and particularly by the Ethiopian Government whose socialist policies have brought the country's economy to bankruptcy and given it a disgraceful human rights record?

Mrs. Chalker

We have said as much as we can about the need for change by the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of Sudan, not only in their economic management but in the way in which they treat their people. They are about as far away from good government as any Government could be. We shall do what we can. We shall make our views known and we will encourage others who share them to make theirs known, too. The essential job before us is to galvanise the whole international community and other bilateral donors into getting their donations and food organised quickly, with the help of the non-governmental organisations, particularly those from this country, so as to save 10 million people from starving.