Letter: Refugees still need UN help

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Refugees still need UN help

Sir: It would be easy to conclude that the worst is over for the thousands who have now left the camps in Zaire and who have decided to return to Rwanda ("Refugees abandon camps to rats", 18 November). However, there is still a job for the United Nations intervention force to do.

Aid agencies are already in danger of being overwhelmed, thousands are still in Zaire and the militia are merely in hiding. We have witnessed but one phase of the exodus. The aid agencies, the Rwandan government and the intervention force need funding and time to turn chaos into an ordered resettlement. This will take months.

This is no time for dithering; a continuing process from survival to rehabilitation needs establishing. More intervention not less is called for in anticipation of close to a million people finally returning.

The developed nations have demanded that the camps be closed and called for the people to return home. Their representatives need to be on the ground now to make more than a symbolic gesture, to demonstrate that peace pays, to sustain one of the most sudden and dramatic movements of people we have ever seen.


Executive Director

Children's Aid Direct

Reading, Berkshire