§ 1. Mr. Mike Gapes (Ilford, South)
If she will make a statement on her Department's contribution to flood relief. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. George Foulkes)
We have responded to a large number of floods during the past year, including in Venezuela and Mozambique, and more recently in India, Vietnam and Cambodia. We are continuing our work to strengthen OCHA, the United Nations co-ordinating agency for emergencies, to ensure that international help is well deployed. We are also helping developing countries that are particularly prone to natural disasters to prepare for them in their development plans.
§ Mr. Gapes
I am grateful for that reply. Does it not show that the problems that have been experienced in recent weeks by many of our constituents in this country are as nothing compared with the terrible problems experienced globally by people in Mozambique, India and Bangladesh and throughout the world? Does it not also show that serious international efforts need to be made to deal with the climatic causes of such events, so that the lives of millions of people are not put at risk in the future?
§ Mr. Foulkes
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Although we are not able, by statute, to operate in the United Kingdom, during the recent floods we offered the assistance of our expert personnel and some vehicles were deployed to help other Departments.
My hon. Friend's point is correct; for example, the situation in Mozambique is already beginning to create cause for concern. The first heavy rains of the season started a week ago; there is flooding in Zambezia and Nampula—nine people were killed overnight. Our contingency planning means that we are ready to respond; a multi-agency planning group, including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, met recently. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the UK fire and rescue team are also involved. Our emergency response team is monitoring the situation daily. We have 292 seconded someone to Maputo to work with the United Nations development programme, so we are more ready to deal with the floods than we were last year and we hope to respond even more effectively than we did then.
§ Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)
What proportion of the flood victims are still housed in accommodation centres? How many of them are suffering from either cholera or malaria? Further to the helpful information that the hon. Gentleman has just given the House, how do those figures compare with the position 12 months ago?
§ Mr. Foulkes
I do not have the immediate figures to hand, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that I shall write to him with answers to his specific questions. We are extremely anxious to ensure that, wherever possible, such floods do not recur, and that if they do so, they will not have such disastrous effects. That is why we are helping with reafforestation and other programmes to try to ensure that when there is flooding, it is not as devastating as it has been in the past.