OPINION

An urgent need for humanitarian aid

The New York Times recently offered an account by a United Nations employee who said the Lebanese, especially children, face fatal risks from interspersed, yet-to-detonate bombs. After noting that small children often confuse unexploded bombs with discarded toys, the UN employee remarked that it was «a real shame» for these children to continue living in danger after having survived so many weeks of shelling and so many sleepless, fearful nights. Observations such as these highlight the critical nature of time. If nothing is done to reverse the dangers of a situation, lives are lost and hopes are dashed. Something must be done soon, before it is too late. Situations such as the one mentioned above serve to highlight the absolute necessity of avoiding delays when the international community is obliged to take action of a humanitarian nature. Today, the problem is in Lebanon, yesterday it was in Sudan and tomorrow it will be in some other corner of the world. And then the cycle will repeat itself, since the problems are nowhere near being solved. Authorities are prone to immediately set up task forces when the aim is economic restructuring or peacekeeping. But it is a shame that they do not act with similar haste when the purpose is the much more crucial need of delivering humanitarian aid. Various agencies which are drowning in the bureaucracy of large organizations have proved themselves incapable of achieving immediate results in the constant battle to help victims of conflict. Perhaps the European Union should take the initiative as any further delay will only result in more lives lost.