YP Letters: Aid should be rapid response to urgent need

From: David H Rhodes, Bishopthorpe, York.

Prime Minister Theresa May (centre) with the Thai Ambassador Pisanu Suvanajata (centre right) in Downing Street, London with the divers and support team from the British Cave Rescue Council who joined the rescue of the 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

REGRETTABLY, there have been many disasters recently and I wonder if a change in thinking may be appropriate. As I understand it, our foreign aid policy presently hinges on a percentage of GDP.

If we got an annual breakdown of where the money goes – including to despotic leaders, corrupt political personnel and the like – I’m sure many a decent British citizen would shed a tear in anger.

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Surely if a figure similar to the total current payouts were held in a pot, then rapid payouts could be made to supporting the likes of:

Experienced divers to go to Thailand in the recent rescue of the football team trapped in a cave.

Villagers left homeless in south-eastern Laos when a hydroelectric dam collapsed.

Assisting in combating the devastating forest fires that raged through seaside resorts near the Greek capital of Athens.

Surely urgent help like this is more important than a stop-smoking programme in some far-flung country? It wouldn’t matter if the pot wasn’t totally used up, it is the availability that matters most.