Times (London)

August 01 1971

EDITORIAL: Cholera - what price world sympathy ?

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The problem is two-fold : how best to assess and meet the immediate needs of the refugees from Pakistan now in India; and how to bring about conditions in East Pakistan which will make it possible for the refugees, most of them Hindus, to return there safely. On the first point, one thing is clear : the main relief effort must be international. No single Government, least of all the hard-pressed Indian Government, can shoulder a burden of this size. It is therefore right that an international authority, in this case the UN High Commission for Refugees, should coordinate and administer relief. Unfortunately, like most large institutions, the UN is not noted for either speed or simplicity. Its machinery grinds slowly on, and meanwhile the cholera victims in India are dying. This is where private, voluntary bodies can work, such as, those in this country which formed themselves into a consortium for action after the East Pakistan cyclone last year. Impressively though they have acted, they have not yet received anything like a fitting response to to their appeal for private contributions in this crisis.

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