LETTER : Help for Bosnian refugees

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The Independent Online
From Ms Tamsin Leakey

Sir: What really "stings" about Britain's response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Bosnia (Andrew Marr, 3 August) is not that we have not done enough but that the British people have no idea of just how much has been done in their name by the Government's Overseas Development Administration (ODA).

Rather than house refugees in Britain, the ODA has spent over pounds 247m on vital aid to make it possible for hundreds of thousands of Bosnian people to remain in their own homes. The UK is the largest European donor of humanitarian aid to Bosnia, yet because the realities of ongoing aid projects for chronic needs do not make news as do the acute peaks of crises, Britons continues to flagellate themselves for not having done enough.

Britain has given assistance and personnel to carry out vast and vital infrastructure and pubic utilities projects, coal mining projects, repair and spares for power stations, electricity distribution, water pumps and pipes, gas projects, road maintenance, municipal heating systems, hospital rehabilitation, civilian convoy teams, grants for the medical sector and to aid agencies.

Of course, no amount of aid is enough to stop the suffering. Only the end of the war can do that, but it would make a nice change if every now and then the British media would give some space to telling the British people what we are doing rather than what we are not.

Yours sincerely,

Tamsin Leakey

(aid worker)

British Convoy

Zagreb, Croatia

4 August