HC Deb 18 March 1991 vol 188 c19
34. Mr. O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government are giving to help the people of Cambodia with humanitarian needs; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Chalker

In the past 12 years we have provided nearly £15 million for Cambodian refugees on the Thai border. Since 1989 we have also committed over £2 million for humanitarian assistance in Cambodia via British non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies. We are ready to consider further requests for help.

Mr. O'Brien

I noted the right hon. Lady's reply, but what assistance can be given to those people who are suffering in the border camps because of the lack of fresh water supplies, which is the greatest killer of children in that area? As those people have been suffering because of war for the past 49 years, is not there something more that the Government can do to ease the situation in the border camps, especially with regard to fresh water supplies?

Mrs. Chalker

I sympathise with what the hon. Gentleman says about the supply of fresh water. We cannot act directly in the border camps, but we can, we have and we shall continue to act through the United Nations border relief organisation to try to bring relief to those people. It is not easy, but we shall continue to try. We also hope that some projects will come from the Mekong committee involving the provision of clean water in other parts of Cambodia. I should welcome that if we received the proposals.