Letter: Flinching from the poor

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The Independent Online
Sir: Oxfam applauds Clare Short's passionate commitment to long- term development. However, our experience is that the British public's enormous commitment to humanitarian relief is not incompatible with their equally strong desire for long-term poverty eradication and political solutions to the conflicts that cause so much of the misery that we see on our television screens.

Those images depicting humanitarian crises may be shocking and moving but it is not Oxfam's experience that they make people turn away, as Clare Short suggests. An emergency appeal ethically presented helps to build a constituency of support for both emergency relief and long-term development. People who initially give to Oxfam for our emergency work continue to support our long-term efforts to tackle poverty.

NICHOLAS STOCKTON

Emergencies Director

Oxfam GB

Oxford

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