HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc768-9W
Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the delivery of aid to(a) Falluja and (b) Najaf in Iraq in April. [167373]

Hilary Benn

Iraqi Ministries, United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, NGOs and Iraqi citizens have been working together to assist people affected by conflict in Falluja. For example: the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have provided blankets, mattresses, food, water, stoves, plastic sheets and emergency health kits for Fallujans outside the city; the Iraqi Ministry of Health, together with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Red Cross and Red Crescent and NGOs, have been working to ensure that sufficient medical supplies and assistance reach hospitals and clinics inside Falluja; and NGOs and local groups have distributed items including cooking gas, sanitation kits and hygiene buckets. The British office in Baghdad is in contact with a local NGO about providing DFID funding for urgent humanitarian supplies.

Iraqi Ministries, UN agencies, the ICRC and others have made preparations for the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance, if required in other Iraqi cities including Najaf. For example, 1.5 tonnes of medical and surgical supplies were distributed early April to the Najaf health directorate.

An emergency coordination group has been established to ensure the effective coordination of emergency assistance in Iraq. Its membership includes UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and NGOs.

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