Letter: Bosnians face starvation

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Sir: The prospect of an imminent end to UN-sponsored aid efforts in Bosnia ('Despairing West gets ready to leave Bosnia', 9 July), at precisely the moment when they are most needed, is too terrible to be contemplated. Well over a million Bosnians, mostly Muslims, are entirely dependent on the international relief effort and will face almost certain death by starvation and epidemic if it is withdrawn. The citizens of Sarajevo have now lost on average 25kg of body weight. They are compelled to drink from the sewers. Their ability to resist diseases is already at a fearsomely low level. Unless we help these people, they will certainly die.

There is an alternative method of bringing aid into central Bosnia. This is to create a UN-guaranteed 'safe corridor' from the Adriatic port of Ploce, through to Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla, along which UNHCR and other aid convoys would be free to pass, and from which the militias, of whichever side, would be excluded. Although this would demand a degree of political courage, there is no alternative short of tolerating the deaths of perhaps a million or more civilians.

Yours sincerely,

CHRIS PAUL

Convoy Co-ordinator

Bosnia Aid Committee of Oxford

Oxford

10 July

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