International Development written question – answered on 6th November 2001.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Conservative, Epsom and Ewell

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on international plans to deliver food aid to refugees in Afghanistan this winter.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

As I said in my statement to the House of Commons on 24 October 2001, Hansard, columns 283-85, humanitarian agencies, especially the World Food Programme, are working under extremely difficult circumstances and continuing to get food and other relief items into Afghanistan. In October, WFP reports that it managed to despatch over 27,000 metric tonnes of food into the country. WFP and other humanitarian agencies will continue to maximise opportunities to get more food into the country as winter approaches. DFID has been assessing ways of maximising other routes of food delivery into Afghanistan, and as I announced in the House on 1 November, we have agreed to contribute £600,000 to Russian Emergency Ministry (EMERCOM) for a new convoy operation to deliver 9,000 metric tonnes of food from Tajikistan to northern Afghanistan over the next two months.

WFP is buying 17,000 metric tonnes of wheat from the Iranian Government, which will be transported by rail to Turkmenistan, and from there to north and west Afghanistan. WFP is also looking at the airdropping of food to vulnerable people living in remote mountainous regions of Afghanistan which are likely to be cut off by winter snows.

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