HC Deb 28 January 2004 vol 417 cc418-9W
14. Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the current humanitarian situation in Iraq. [151176]

Mr. Gareth Thomas

In spite of difficulties resulting from the security situation in Iraq, there is no humanitarian crisis in the country. Significant progress has been made since the end of the conflict in restoring essential services, restoring the Public Distribution System for food rations, reopening hospitals and schools, and beginning process of longer-term reconstruction.

US$33 billion in grants and soft loans was pledged for the reconstruction of Iraq at the Madrid Donors' Conference in October. DFID has already committed £220 million to humanitarian and reconstruction work in Iraq.

Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the result was of the consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers on possible next steps in maintaining public order in Iraq. [150001]

Mr. Rammell

I have been asked to reply.

Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office consult regularly with Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) representatives on a range of issues related to the UK support for police training and reform in Iraq.

ACPO's international affairs office has made a critical contribution to these efforts. This has included facilitating the secondment of 80 serving British officers currently involved in advisory and training roles in Baghdad, Basra and at the Jordan International Police Training Centre; and advice on the overall shape and objectives of the UK police contribution in Iraq.

Mr. Swayne

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate had been made of the state of essential civilian infrastructure prior to the commencement of the military conflict in Iraq; and what plans his Department prepared for maintenance and repairs of the infrastructure. [150223]

Hilary Benn

United Nations and NGO organisations active in Iraq made assessments of civilian infrastructure prior to the conflict. These included United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, International Committee Red Cross and CARE International UK. The Joint Needs Assessment prepared by the UN and World Bank before the Madrid Donors' Conference in October 2003 also assessed the condition of infrastructure pre and post conflict.

The Department's assistance prior to the conflict and in the immediate aftermath was largely channelled through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and NGOs. These organisations had experience of working in Iraq, well-established local networks and a capacity to deliver assistance on the ground. They were able to move back into Iraq quickly after the major conflict ended and set up effective humanitarvian operations. The Department helped these organisations to prepare for the post conflict phase.

As it became clear that the continuing insecurity meant that the UN was unable to operate in Iraq, we provided support to essential infrastructure in Southern Iraq. This was also informed by the needs assessment work in the lead-up to the Madrid Conference in October, following which we committed £20 million as a contribution to a US․127 million CPA Essential Services Programme for the restoration of essential infrastructure in Southern Iraq.

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