Sudan (Famine Relief)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 5th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Stuart Holland Mr Stuart Holland , Vauxhall 3:31 pm, 5th June 1985

The Minister must realise that this response is quite inadequate. It is far too little and far too late. Warnings were given by us in the House earlier this year that the fuel problem was critical and that Sudan needed at least 250,000 tonnes of fuel. We urged the Minister then to act directly rather than through the EEC and we called on the Government to release more vehicles, if necessary from Ministry of Defence stock. The Minister has not done that.

The right hon. Gentleman's comments about the resources now being given for renewal of the railway stock also are quite inadequate. Tenders were being offered by British firms in January, in the expectation that the renewal of the rolling stock would be done by June, so that, when the rains came, the food aid could go through. As far as we can see, the project has only just been approved and the railway is inadequate to meet the food distribution needs, because only about one fifth of what is needed is getting through.