HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 cc693-4W
Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what action the Government have taken to respond to the humanitarian aid crisis in Zimbabwe. [123600]

Hilary Benn

The British Government has contributed £51 million to help Zimbabwe since the humanitarian crisis began in mid 2001. We have given assistance for feeding programmes, emergency medicines, essential health supplies, and seeds and fertilizer to help promote agricultural recovery.

The 2003 maize harvest, forecast to be 803,000 tonnes, is up 61 per cent. on last year, but it remains only 41 per cent. of 2001, and will provide less than half of the domestic requirement for 2003–04. The World Food Programme has just launched a new US $308 million regional appeal for southern Africa, of which some 60 per cent. is to meet Zimbabwe's needs.

DFID is considering WFP's appeal and proposals from non-governmental organisations. DFID will continue to be a significantcontributor to humanitarian relief in Zimbabwe in 2003–04, with ongoing and anticipated new contributions amounting to £35 million in this financial year.

Mrs. Spelman

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether UK food aid to Zimbabwe is distributed by Zimbabwean Government organisations. [123642]

Hilary Benn

No DFID funded food aid is distributed through Zimbabwean Government organisations. UK official food aid, whether bilateral or through the WFP, is distributed by international or Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations. The NGOs operate according to clear humanitarian principles, backed up by rigorous monitoring and complaints procedures.