Letter: Somalia's suffering met by silence

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Sir: The situation of people in Somaliland has not been entirely neglected as Alun Michael suggests (Letters, 12 August). Oxfam has recognised the need that exists there and has been engaged in large-scale emergency water supply in the devastated town of Hargeisa and elsewhere since May 1991, supporting returning refugees and displaced people. So far pounds 482,000 has been spent on this programme.

Oxfam is planning to continue rehabilitating town and village water supplies, even though violent elements have looted and destroyed equipment, disrupting our programme on occasion. This work, which is aimed at restoring basic services, is a contribution towards peace and stability.

We do, however, share the concern of Mr Michael at the lack of aid to the people of Somaliland in comparison with the needs that exist. Oxfam has pressed and will continue to press for the UN and donor governments to end their ambivalence towards Somaliland and ensure that the provision of aid does not have to wait for the issue of sovereignty to be resolved.

Yours faithfully,


Associate Director, Oxfam