Cyclone Idai

International Development – in the House of Commons on 6th June 2019.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

What support his Department is providing to people affected by Cyclone Idai.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the crisis, providing up to £36 million. The Disasters Emergency Committee appeal raised another £39 million. That has delivered rapid, life-saving relief, supporting food, emergency shelter, clean water and health equipment for more than 500,000 people across the region affected by the cyclone. We are now focusing on longer-term recovery, and the UK made a further £12.5 million available from existing resources as part of the recent Beira pledging conference.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

I declare my interests in southern Africa.

Does the Minister agree that one lesson we need to take away from this appalling cyclone is the need to concentrate on longer-term flood and sea defences? Will she elaborate a bit on what her Department is doing in that respect?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Yes. Last time we had exchanges on this subject, I said that I felt it would be impractical to build a sea wall along what is a long and vulnerable coastline, but we are learning that a lot of things do work well. For example, we are making sure that we work on soil erosion and in terms of mangroves, which can provide resistance. There is a lot to do, and I welcome my hon. Friend’s commitment to increase our research and commitment in this policy area.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. We are running late. I will accommodate the remaining questioners on the condition that they confine themselves to a single-sentence question, without preamble. No dilation is required.