HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 cc133-4W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations her Department has received from Mongolia for assistance arising from the impact of severe winter conditions; what response has been made; and if she will make a statement. [152265]

Mr. Mullin

Mongolia has been hit by two consecutive winter disasters or 'dzuds' (1999–2000 and 2000–01) caused by severe and widespread drought in the summer, unusually cold temperatures in the autumn and heavy snow fall in winter. These conditions are seriously affecting both animal and human welfare. Last year's dzud affected 450,000 herders and killed approximately three million livestock. Compared with the same period last year the current situation is much more severe in terms of the impact of the disaster on people and livestock and on the national capacity to respond. Over 300,000 herders are affected in 20 out of 21 provinces and 600,000 livestock have already died.

The Government of Mongolia have been active in disaster preparedness and relief assistance in dzud affected areas. However the two consecutive dzud have overstretched national capacity. The Government have therefore requested international relief assistance following a needs assessment, in which my Department was involved. An appeal for $11.8 million has been launched by the Government of Mongolia through the United Nations.

The appeal aims to target vulnerable groups in the most severely affected provinces and seeks to fulfil unmet relief needs. It focuses on building the disaster management of the Mongolian State Emergency Commission and other relevant national partners to enhance preparedness and future response.

We have offered US $1 million for the provision of emergency relief under the framework of the UN appeal to be channeled through humanitarian agencies working in Mongolia.

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