Saving Sarajevo: Charities defy gunmen to bring aid: The British-based groups that are determined to help Bosnia

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The Independent Online
DESPITE the increased danger in Bosnia, more charities and aid agencies, both large and small, from various countries are coming into Bosnia to help. Although no one knows quite how many charities and NGOs (non- governmental agencies) are working there, most are doing useful work.

Some of the NGOs work independently while others are closer to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which has issued identity cards to 26 organisations carrying out projects in Bosnia - such as food distribution or building work - on behalf of the UNHCR. The cards are not a seal of approval by the UNHCR but more a necessity for safe passage across front lines and for UN assistance; some other organisations which work closely with the UNHCR, such as the Serbian Red Cross for example, might also carry identity cards although they are not doing UNHCR projects.

The following list of UK based charitable organisations working in Bosnia is by no means definitive, but is designed to help readers who want to support the humanitarian effort:

The United Nations Associations' Trust Bosnians was formed last week by the United Nations; the fund, which has had a good response so far, is for all types of humanitarian relief in Bosnia. Money is sent to wherever the need is greatest.

UNA Trust Bosnians, PO Box 3067, London SW1A 2EN, tel: 071-930 2931.

The Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is working with Caritas, which is an NGO working in Bosnia with local churches and local Muslim networks as well. Caritas, which is presently spending pounds 2m per month on aid, sends daily trucks into Sarajevo with food parcels of flour, oil and pasta, but lack of funds and the blockade has meant that it has reduced the number of trucks reaching Sarajevo from 50 to 3 each day. Caritas, which is concerned that warehouses are low and that Bosnia is becoming economically impoverished - the war has prevented crops from being grown - also provides medical teams.

CAFOD, Romero Close, Stockwell Road, London SW9 9TY, tel: 071-733 7900.

Scottish European Aid is a young, small organisation with previous emergency experience in Romania. It is working in the Tuzla area on an

engineering project supplying water

to many of the towns, now swollen with refugees, surrounding Tuzla. Its own engineers work whenever possible with locally trained people. It

is also renovating half-destroyed buildings.

Scottish European Aid, 88a George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3DF, tel: 031- 225 4465.

Care International has its base in Split with a sub-office in Tuzla. Its main work in Bosnia is running a trucking convoy from the coast into central Bosnia bringing in the charity's, and other NGO's, supplies; it is supplying milk products, weaning foods and nappies for babies and young children; and assisting Tuzla city council with its infrastructure so that it can distribute supplies more efficiently to the local people of Tuzla.

Care International, 36-38 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HE, tel: 071- 379 5247.

The International Committee of the Red Cross to which the British Red Cross has sent nearly pounds 6m for Bosnia since the conflict began, is giving medical support to the people and main hospitals of Sarajevo - particularly one where the war-wounded with spinal injuries are trying to recuperate.

Also in Sarajevo, it is operating a type of postal service, tracing and keeping people in touch with relatives in other parts of Bosnia; and it is distributing chlorine water sterilising tablets because of Sarajevo's poor water supply. In Bosnia generally, about 700,000 people rely each month on the Red Cross for food and medical supplies. The International Red Cross's overall 1993 budget for Bosnia is pounds 120m.

Victims of War Appeal, British Red Cross, 9 Grosvenor Crescent, London SW1X 7EJ, tel: 071-235 5454

Marie Stopes International is establishing a programme to help alleviate the physical and psychological hardship and distress of the displaced, traumatised, sexually abused and vulnerable women in Bosnia. They are setting up self-help groups for women to provide information, medical services and counselling. Field service teams are being recruited from the local community. They are currently working with refugees on the south Dalmatian coast and in western Herzegovina and will move into Central Bosnia to establish projects when security conditions permit.

Marie Stopes International, c/o Helen Mitchell, 68 Grafton Way, London W1P 5LE, tel: 071-388 3034

Oxfam has staff based in Tuzla who are concentrating on clothing needs for the coming winter, following a request from the UN. Funds are needed to provide transport specifically for shoes and winter clothes.

Oxfam, Room BB94, Freepost, Oxford OX2 7BR, tel: 0865 311311

Save the Children (UK) is currently working to help Bosnian refugees in Croatia and its sister organisation, Save the Children (Denmark) is working in Bosnia providing a large programme of family parcels and clothing which is shipped from Denmark and distributed by the UNHCR.

Save the Children, 17 Grove Lane, Camberwell, London SE5 8RD, tel: 071-703 5400