Hunger Crisis in West Africa

June 13, 2012

Constituents are rightly worried about the West Africa crisis and Britain will help a further million people survive the food crisis.

The Minister, Andrew Mitchell has warned that up to 1.5 million children are facing imminent starvation in the next month if the world does not take urgent action. He called on donors with strong links to the drought-stricken region of the Sahel – to step up their efforts to avert this looming catastrophe.
I am sure Andrew is right and it is good to have the Minister giving the World a push. Rainy season makes vast swathes of West Africa inaccessible for aid workers in as little as four weeks’ time.
So, what is Britain doing to help?

Latest support includes nutritional treatment, health, water and sanitation for a further 31,000 children, and food for a further 170,000 people for six months.
Animal feed and vaccinations will keep over 280,000 farmers’ livestock alive and seeds and tools for 470,000 families so they will be able to feed themselves next year as well.
Britain is now helping a total of more than 1.4 million people at risk of hunger across Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. More than 100,000 children at risk of starvation in these countries will receive immediate lifesaving treatment.

Tribute to Helen Suzman

January 12, 2009

I would like to pay tribute to Helen Suzman, human rights campaigner, who passed away recently. Helen used her membership of the South African Parliament to rigorously campaign against apartheid. Unafraid to be a lone voice in the wilderness Helen fearlessly challenged the National Party government week after week, year after year for much of the second half of the 20th century. She was a true parliamentarian, using the Westminster-style system to expose the Government for its misuse of power.

When I visited South Africa on a delegation last year, I made a well received speech about Human Rights and met a number of displaced Zimbabweans. I was saddened to see that despite the efforts of the current Government, much of the poverty and injustice that campaigners like Helen and Nelson Mandela, had fought against still exist. However, the change that has been achieved is remarkable.