Zimbabwe: Politics and Government

International Development written question – answered on 23rd June 2009.

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Photo of Keith Simpson Keith Simpson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his estimate is of the number of refugees from Zimbabwe since the formation of the unity government; what assessment he has made of their access to humanitarian aid; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas The Minister of State, Department for International Development, Party Chair, Co-operative Party

Zimbabwe's social and economic decline has forced many Zimbabweans to leave the country during the last few years. The vast majority of those leaving do so by irregular means and do not request refugee status. It is therefore difficult to assess their numbers generally or within the specific period since the elections but numbers would probably exceed one million.

Zimbabweans living in South Africa, and those deported back to Zimbabwe, require access to a range of medical, food, shelter and child support services. This is being provided by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Medicins sans Frontières (MSF) and Save the Children. DFID has provided financial support to Save the Children and is the second largest contributor to the IOM.

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