The US Government's Reaction Time in Aiding Somalia

The editorial "A Test in Somalia," Aug. 19, laments that the relief effort "wasn't all begun months ago." But in fact, it was.

The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), began supporting relief operations in Somalia in February 1991. Since then, USAID has provided more than $85 million in assistance, including nearly 80,000 metric tons of food.

President George Bush's announcement several weeks ago included a commitment for an additional 145,000 tons of food. The US has been paying close attention to the crisis from the outset and is trying to get the news media to do the same. The question the news media need to answer is, why haven't they? Jerry Lipson, Washington, Office of External Affairs US Agency for International Develop.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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