On 13th July Lord Chidgey asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) desert locusts, on food security in countries in east Africa, and in particular in (a) Sudan, and (b) South Sudan”. The Rt Revd Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury asked a follow up question, focusing on overseas aid.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: With the economy of Sudan collapsing and inflation rocketing, the Anglican Archbishop of Khartoum said recently that people would rather die of Covid-19 than of hunger. In South Sudan the Anglican Archbishop of Juba said that mortality rates were already high and, in response to the virus, hygiene and social isolation are difficult—indeed, almost impossible. The diocese of Salisbury has a long-standing partnership with the Anglican churches in those countries and we have launched an emergency appeal this month for at least £50,000 for hygiene and food. What are the British Government doing to support the improvement of hygiene and food in those countries? What does the Minister think we are learning about the motivation for our giving aid to these countries?
On 20th May 2020, Lord Collins of Highbury asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the response of international institutions to the impact of COVID-19 on refugee camps”. The Archbishop of Canterbury asked a follow-up question:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan published by the UN and updated this month, which emphasises “The importance of involving and supporting local organizations … given the key role they are playing in this crisis.” In all areas where the world’s 70 million displaced people gather, faith groups and especially churches are often the only remaining organisations with reach from grass roots to leaders, but they are often ignored by international and relief agencies. In many cases, shortage of money and logistics hamper food distribution. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that faith-based local groups are fully involved by all international agencies in all aspects of relief, reconciliation and moral and spiritual support?
On 13th May, the Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on financial assistant the Government has given to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester:HL3570 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial assistance they (1) have made, and (2) intend to make, to the United Nations COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
On 12th May, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on debt incurred because of COVID-19.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds:HL3474 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the letter published in the Financial Times on 14 April, and signed by 18 African and European leaders, which called for an immediate moratorium on all bilateral and multilateral debt payments, both public and private, until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed; and what plans they have, if any, to support that request.
On 12th May, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on the debt of developing countries.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds:HL3476 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with other G20 leaders to extend the agreement reached on 15 April, to suspend debt payments owed by 77 of the world’s poorest countries, to include the (1) the World Bank, and (2) the African Development Bank.
On 12th May, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on a question about the World Food Programme in Africa.
Bishop of Winchester:HL3568 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what additional financial support and assistance they are providing the World Food Programme to develop an effective response to the risk of food insecurity in Africa.
On 12th May the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Sugg on what steps the Government is taking to ensure those around the world dependent on humanitarian assistance for food are supported.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry:HL3766 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to help people around the world who are dependent on humanitarian assistance for food, particularly in relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 12th May the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry received a written answer to a question on what Government was doing to ensure humanitarian assistance reached religious minorities.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry:HL3767 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that religious minorities in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have equal access to humanitarian assistance.
On Thursday 19th March 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question in the House of Lords that he had tabled on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to tackle the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains the worst in the world. Some 80% of the population require humanitarian assistance. Alongside our diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, we have provided over £200 million in aid this current financial year. This has met the immediate food needs of more than 1 million Yemenis each month during the year. However, we are clear that the only way to address the humanitarian crisis is through a political settlement.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply and for the hard work that I know he and his colleagues are putting into this situation. However, Yemen is now also suffering terrible outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria, and now Covid-19 has come along as well. So the airports have been closed. What are Her Majesty’s Government able to do to ensure that food supplies, aid and medicines are still actually getting into the country and getting where they are needed? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about humanitarian situation in Yemen”