Bosnia Appeal: Give a little, help a lot: Readers donate more than pounds 40,000 in a week

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The Independent Culture
IN ITS first week, the Independent Bosnia Appeal has raised pounds 41,500. The money has been sent in by readers to help 15 charitable organisations that are operating in bitter winter conditions to ease the plight of the 2.7 million people in former Yugoslavia who are entirely dependent on aid. For every donation to one or more of 15 charities working in the region, the Independent will add 10 per cent, up to pounds 30,000. The organisations are:

1 War Child, founded 18 months ago, has sent about 50 aid convoys to Bosnia; the most recent contained blankets, food, medicine and clothes. Last summer, War Child received an Overseas Development Administration grant for a mobile bakery in Bosnia which is now producing 1,500 loaves of bread a day for refugees in Medjugorje. There are plans for another mobile bakery backed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and for a trauma therapy unit for children in Sarajevo.

2 British Red Cross will, by the end of this year, have given pounds 12m to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has been working in former Yugoslavia since the war began, and now has more than 1,000 personnel there. The British Red Cross is worried about how much it can give next year: 60 per cent of its grant comes from public donations. The ICRC is managing to get food and medical supplies to about 600,000 people in Bosnia each month, in spite of access problems. It is now sending blankets, 5,000 wood-burning stoves, winter clothing and plastic sheeting. A Red Cross food parcel costing pounds 10 will help to keep a family for a month.

3 Care International has been working in former Yugoslavia since February. British Care has given about pounds 600,000, representing 20 per cent of Care International's total aid budget for Bosnia. Food and shelter for displaced people in Bosnia is Care's primary concern. The first consignment of Care's 49,000 winter parcels to the Tuzla region, with clothes for babies and vital food for mothers and children, has been delivered.

4 Cafod (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) has been involved with the conflict since December 1991 through Caritas, an international aid branch of the Catholic Church which works with local churches in the country in need. Caritas gives aid regardless of a person's race or religion. Cafod has spent pounds 700,000, while Caritas has spent pounds 84m.

5 Christian Aid has channelled pounds 100,000 into the World Council of Churches' programme for former Yugoslavia. The WCC has provided food, shelter materials, agricultural and other relief supplies.

6 Edinburgh Direct Aid was formed in September 1992 to send food and medical aid to displaced people in Bosnia and Croatia. So far it has sent 12 convoys of lorries filled with donated food and medical supplies mostly to central Bosnia.

7 Feed the Children, formed in 1990, has raised more than pounds 1.5m for central Bosnia in the past 18 months and delivered more than 3,400 tons of emergency medical and food supplies to destitute children and their families since. It sends two full lorries from Britain to central Bosnia each week and is the only British aid agency supplying baby food to the area.

8 Help the Aged began working with the UNHCR in villages and towns along the Bosnian-Croatian border seven months ago. It visits elderly people living in camps and makeshift houses, taking them mainly food and medicine; many are frail, having struggled against inflation and bad living conditions before the conflict began. The charity has spent more than pounds 200,000 in former Yugoslavia and needs as much again.

9 Islamic Relief, which works for distressed people of all races and religions, has delivered up to pounds 7m of aid to former Yugoslavia since 1991. It aims to supply wood and water to 50,000 families in Bosnia throughout the winter; it needs pounds 2m to achieve the aim. It reckons that one cubic metre of wood, costing pounds 18, is enough for a family of five for the winter.

10 Marie Stopes International started its Bosnian programme in May, creating four field trauma centres for Croat and Muslim refugees in Bosnia and Croatia. With pounds 1.4m in funds from EU countries and the UNHCR, the agency is establishing women's self-help support groups to address rape and trauma of war such as grief, loss, dislocation and depression.

11 Oxfam desperately needs warm winter children's coats and jumpers for its Cold Front Appeal. 'People are frightened of dying from the cold; the levels of malnourishment are worse this winter,' says Anna Feuchtwang at Oxfam. At the same time the appeal intends to raise pounds 1m and the charity feels it has seen a slower response than last year. During the past 18 months Oxfam has spent about pounds 526,800 in Bosnia-Herzegovina on projects including transport, medicines, clothes, food, blankets and engineering.

12 The Refugee Council, which has helped 8,000 Bosnian refugees who fled to the UK, raised pounds 145,000 in August for refugees in Bosnia. 'The crisis now is not so much of armed combat but of the effects of winter,' says Ken Ritchie, deputy director of the Refugee Council.

13 Save the Children is supporting its Danish sister organisation Red Barnet, which is distributing family food parcels to displaced people in Bosnia.

14 Scottish European Aid began this year with a UNHCR grant of pounds 800,000 to work on a water engineering programme in the Tuzla area. The area is swollen with refugees and clean water is critically important. The cost of restoring an adequate water supply is about 50p a person. The group's UNHCR grant runs out this month and it needs money urgently to continue its work.

15 The United Nations Association's Trust Bosnia, founded in July to raise money for the UNHCR's use, has raised pounds 59,000. Some of the money was earmarked for airlifting injured children out of Bosnia; the rest has been used in areas of most pressing need.

If you would like to support one or more of the charitable organisations please send a separate cheque for each donation, made payable to the organisation - with the wording as below - and send to: Bosnia Appeal, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

1 War Child Now; 2 Victims of War Appeal (former Yugoslavia) - this for the Red Cross; 3 Care; 4 Cafod (Bosnia); 5 Christian Aid (Bosnia); 6 Edinburgh Direct Aid; 7 Feed the Children; 8 Help the Aged Former Yugoslavia Appeal; 9 Islamic Relief Bosnia Fund; 10 Marie Stopes International (Bosnia); 11 Oxfam; 12 The Refugee Council; 13 Save the Children Fund; 14 Scottish European Aid; 15 UNA Trust Bosnia.

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