Letter: The starving can't wait for peace

THE Disasters Emergency Committee (an alliance of 15 leading British aid agencies) launched the Sudan Crisis Appeal because sufficient money was not available to finance the aid operation that is urgently required ("Well said, Clare Short", 7 June). People were dying; many more will die unless they get emergency aid. Meanwhile, the UN's World Food Programme has received only $15m of $65m required to fund aircraft and food supplies.

Our role is to bring help to those who need it regardless of the political backdrop. We have made it clear that this crisis is the result of 15 years of war and two years of drought. It is up to governments to press for the peace agreement necessary for a long-term solution. In the meantime we cannot stand back and allow people to starve. People without food cannot wait for peace.

Images of starvation can degrade the person being photographed - a point agencies have argued to the media for years. But even if we could control all images, we would still have to face the reality of the situation - that thousands of people in southern Sudan are at risk of starvation. People may flinch but they do not turn away and to date, have donated more than pounds 6m to the Sudan Appeal.

Jamie McCaul

Disasters Emergency Committee, London W1