Letter: Extreme suffering of Somali people

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have just returned from spending several days in southern Somalia with the Care relief teams. Never before have I witnessed such extreme suffering.

The poor people of the Shabeele region in particular need urgent assistance now, and much more of it. Estimates are that at least 1,000 people are dying every day in the rural areas. The United Nations must move quickly to provide security by ensuring that sufficient troops are on the ground to facilitate food distribution to those most in need.

Care is working flat out in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances, providing humanitarian relief as fast as possible. The urgent priority now is more airlifts to distribute substantially more food.

The governments of the developed world, whose forebears were responsible for Somalia's colonisation and many of the consequences, have an obligation to provide massive amounts of humanitarian assistance to save hundreds of thousands of people from a long and painful death.

Yours faithfully,

JULIAN HOPKINS

National Director, Care

London, WC2

7 September

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