Aid initiative

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Once again the delay to help people in distress, this time in the Philippines, is causing real ­anguish.

The public are digging deep as usual but it’s a week since the tragedy hit these poor unfortunate folk and doubtless some have died because of the slow response in getting life-saving water, food, shelter and medical provisions where it’s needed.

Isn’t it time the foreign aid development initiative was revisited and a change of emphasis considered? In recent times this aid has been discredited with stories of secret Swiss bank accounts causing much annoyance among ordinary folk.

Then we hear of our tax pounds being given to states such as India and learn that it spends millions to send rockets to Mars. Where’s the sense in that?

Billions are pledged annually almost out of habit, it would seem. Events such as the recent typhoon are becoming more frequent and the regions of the world where these catastrophes happen are well known. It doesn’t take a huge leap of logical sense to set up permanently manned sites at appropriately safe places around the world with hard rations paid for by diverting funds from development aid.

So on the same day (or before if there’s warning) everything can swing into action and get the goods on the way.

Common sense is a scarce commodity in the political arena but the UK could take the lead, get lots of credit and it would not cost a penny more than we already give.

Most importantly, the poor souls who find themselves on the edge of survival will get the assistance they obviously need and ­deserve, just in time.

Stan Hogarth

Palmerston Place

Edinburgh

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