HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 c662W
27. Mr. Jim Murphy

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement about her Department's humanitarian work in southern Africa. [152235]

Clare Short

My Department is engaged in humanitarian assistance in the region on a number of fronts. Following the immediate relief operation in response to last year's floods in Mozambique we have remained engaged in rehabilitation as well as in developing new measures, via the UN system, to strengthen UN and Government of Mozambique contingency arrangements for future disasters. Over the past few months DFID, FCO, MOD, RNLI and the UK Fire Service have been working together to prepare contingency plans for different emergency scenarios. In addition we have continued to work closely with the Government of Mozambique's National Directorate of Water to set up early warning flood systems with the UK Met Office. DFID has also granted £250,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross.

Following the onset of the current floods, we have switched gear to immediate response operations which are deliberately aimed at 'preventative rescue and relief, i.e. extricating people before the worst hits them and there is substantial loss of life and suffering. We are currently: funding two Puma helicopters which are busy moving people from the riskiest areas and transporting urgent relief supplies; providing three logisticians to WFP to assist in its operational response; providing a humanitarian specialist in Beira to reinforce DFID presence on the ground and conduct field assessments. Beyond this, in Zimbabwe, DFID has agreed to fund an Emergency Preparedness project, (£166,000, one year) to be implemented by Save The Children Fund (UK). It is preparing for the potential humanitarian crisis which may emerge later this year as a result of, among other issues, prolonged food shortages and large displacements of commercial farm workers. The project will gather and disseminate information on the current situation in commercial farms and peri-urban settlements, and work to build effective networks within civil society and between civil society and donors/government.

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