Hurd says world aid too late for Somalia

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MOGADISHU (Reuter) - Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, said yesterday the world had been too slow in reacting to a famine in Somalia that threatens to kill nearly 2 million people. 'We were all collectively too slow,' Mr Hurd told a news conference after a three-hour tour of the shattered capital, Mogadishu, leading a European Community delegation that arrived after visits to South Africa and Kenya. It was the most senior delegation to visit the country since it disintegrated into civil strife 20 months ago when rebels overthrew the dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre.

'Now at least we have a short but vivid impression,' Mr Hurd said after lightning visits to three feeding centres and a hospital sheltering hundreds of hungry and wounded fugitives from war and famine. Mr Hurd, the Danish Foreign Minister, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, and the Portuguese state secretary, Dura Barroso, visited both sides of the divided capital protected by the gunmen who had destroyed it in a battle for control that ended with a shaky ceasefire in March.