Sir: The Overseas Development Administration is not ignoring the plight of the Afghan people and it is gratifying that Ravi Narayanan and others (Letters, 9 February) recognise our prompt response.
We have regularly been among the first, and most generous, contributors to appeals from the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA) and from British non-governmental organisations working in Afghanistan and with Afghan refugees in Pakistan. In response to the UNOCHA's March 1993 appeal, we pledged pounds 7.5m. This included:
- pounds 3m for programmes of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees;
- pounds 1m for the medical programmes of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC);
- pounds 1m to the UNOCHA for mine clearance;
- pounds 900,000 through the World Food Programme for food aid;
- pounds 1m for Afghanaid, the main British non-governmental organisation working in Afghanistan.
We have needed no urging to act promptly in the latest crisis. We have responded immediately to all requests for help. Through the ICRC we have provided blankets and cooking sets for displaced people near Jalalabad. …