Letter: Best way to help Zaire refugees

Best way to help Zaire refugees

Sir: As a medical doctor and aid worker who has experienced more than 10 wars around the world, I want as much as anyone to see relief brought to the 700,000 refugees in Goma, Zaire.

But the international community faces a dilemma. A quick fix that freezes the situation and recreates the refugee camps will just cause another conflict and crisis in a few months' or a year's time.

Any international intervention must have two objectives: the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the safe return of these refugees to Rwanda.

This will require courage from the politicians, and careful operational planning to encourage the return of the refugees. But if the painful facts are not faced, if the camps are simply recreated, many more people will die.

JOHN HOWARTH

Medical Director

MERLIN (Medical Emergency Relief International)

London W1

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