HC Deb 03 June 1998 vol 313 cc233-4W
19. Mr. Hope

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department has taken to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan; and if she will make a statement. [42516]

Clare Short

In February, we pledged £4 million to the United Nations 1998 Consolidated Appeal for Sudan. On 6 May this was increased to £5.23 million. This has been given to UN agencies and international NGOs in Sudan with the current crisis in Bahr El Ghazal region a key focus. I approved a further £5 million on 15 May which will be used over the coming months to meet urgent humanitarian needs in this region and wherever else they arise in Sudan.

The war is the direct cause of the current crises. The problem in providing humanitarian relief is not a lack of resources but lack of access. The Government of Sudan have approved increased flights and is willing to offer a ceasefire—which is the best solution to the problem of access. The SPLA has refused to consider a ceasefire. Without peace, humanitarian crises will recur.