International Development written question – answered on 17th December 2001.

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Photo of Dr Jenny Tonge Dr Jenny Tonge Liberal Democrat, Richmond Park

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment her Department has made of the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

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

Last month DFID's field manager covering Somalia visited some of the most vulnerable parts of the south. The Somalia Desk also keeps in close contact with (and support) agencies working in the more at-risk areas, receiving regular reports from them.

Our current assessment of the situation, derived from these sources, is that there are pockets of urgent need, particularly in the south of the country. These needs are primarily a consequence of the continuing conflict—though the background of poor rainfall has not helped (most notably in Gedo).

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