§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in the light18W of serious famine forecast for April, he has proposals to grant further food aid to Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Following my visit to Ethiopia on 9 and 10 March, I announced a further £8.5 million contribution of food and other emergency aid. Following the effective closure of the port of Massawa to relief operations, it is now unlikely that famine can be wholly averted.
The agreement on the movement of relief supplies into northern Welo and Tigray along the so-called southern line from the port of Assab was a most welcome development. President Mengistu assured me that the Government would not hinder this operation and the rebel side has also agreed to it.
The first convoys moved across the lines on 20 and 21 March and reached the distribution centre of Kobo in northern Welo the following day.