OUT OF FOOD RELIEF STOCKS
FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
STOCKS of relief food and medicines in Biafra have now run out, the International Red Cross announced in Geneva on Monday.
They had been strictly rationed since the relief airlift was suspended two weeks earlier after a Red Cross aircraft was shot down. "There may be enough rationed food for one or two more days, but in effect stocks have now run out," a spokesman said. This left more than three million Biafrans with not enough home-grown food to avoid slow starvation unless the international relief action could be resumed.
Both the Red Cross and Joint Church Aid, the other major relief agency, were trying to make an arrangement with Nigeria and Biafra for day-time flights. Both agencies considered night flights, as conducted before, too dangerous under present conditions.
RIVER RELIEF HITCH
He said there also seemed to be a hitch in starting river relief operations with the American landing barge Donna Mercedes.
Joint Church Aid said on Monday that unless daylight flights could begin very shortly the situation in Biafra would revert to that of July and August last year, when the starvation death toll was estimated 60,000 a day. An estimated 1,500,000 civilians, mostly children, have died of starvation in Biafra since hostilities began. Both the Red Cross and Joint Church Aid are demanding safety guarantees from Nigeria for their aircraft flying to Biafra.
Meanwhile Biafra is demanding a third-party guarantee from a country or organisation with military power to support the guarantee for the safety of its airport at Uli when relief planes are coming in. Biafra always opposed daytime flights in the fear that Nigeria would attack Uli at a time when anti-aircraft defences could not go into action because of landing relief flights.
Joint Church Aid said nearly all the relief feeding centres in Biafra have had to close because supplies cannot be brought in from outside.
Martyr's death commemorated
CARDINAL HEENAN will celebrate Mass and Bishop Holland will preach at a pilgrimage to the shrine of Blessed John Southworth in Westminster Cathedral at 4 p.m. tomorrow, the 315th anniversary of the death of the martyr. Parishes from Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood dioceses will take part. Blessed John Southworth, born in Lancashire in 1592, was educated at Douai, and returned to this country as a priest in 1619. He was imprisoned several times, banished at least once, and finally condemned to death for his priesthood and hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.