HC Deb 22 June 1999 vol 333 cc344-5W
Rev. Martin Smyth

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact of the demands of relief aid in Kosovo and Albania upon other areas of development support. [83277]

Clare Short

The Government have recently announced a further commitment of up to £50 million for humanitarian aid to Kosovo bringing the total commitment to £90 million. This is in addition to our share of EU assistance.

The commitment for Kosovo, and for any other major humanitarian emergencies later in the financial year, will be found from the Department for International Development's Contingency Reserve and from the Government's Central Reserve.

Mr. Frank Cook

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what resources, additional to existing commitments, will be made available by the United Kingdom for mine clearance and education about mines in Kosovo. [87375]

Clare Short

Mines are a serious problem in Kosovo and could prove a severe constraint to refugee return. Twenty or more incidents have been reported in the first few days alone—resulting in several casualties.

As part of the Government's recently announced package of£50 million for humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance for Kosovo, £5 million has been allocated for mine clearance and mine awareness education. We have provided grants and practical assistance for UN Mines Advisory Service (co-ordination and oversight), Halo Trust (region wide survey), and clearance teams from Mines Action Group.

Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes have been curtailed as a result of the £50 million extra money for Kosovo. [87590]

Clare Short

No programmes have been curtailed. The £85 million of the £90 million commitment to the needs of Kosovar refugees has been funded from the Department for International Development contingency reserve and the Government central reserve. The remaining £5 million was already committed to the area.

Mr. Randall

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans her Department has for giving aid to those households in Macedonia and Albania which are currently housing Kosovan Albanian refugees. [87401]

Clare Short

Our humanitarian assistance during the Kosovo crisis has included support for communities and families in the region who are hosting refugees in their own homes, with priority given to the poorest and most vulnerable.

DFID is helping to fund a range of international organisations and NGOs. We have given £2.5 million to the Red Cross movement, whose work includes provision of support to host families. In Albania, we are funding Children's Aid Direct and Catholic Relief Services to provide education for both refugees and the local Albanian population. In Macedonia, DFID is funding CARE to provide assistance for vulnerable people, mainly elderly and handicapped, among both refugees and host families. Although many refugees are now returning to Kosovo, I have made it clear that DFID will continue to honour the commitments it has made to the local communities and the refugees that remain in Albania and Macedonia.