FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT IN the light of proposals to step up the numbers of Biafran children being evacuated to neighbouring countries where they can be adequately fed and cared for, the executive committee -of Caritas Internationalis has defined its own policy on child relief, during discussions in Geneva.
It takes the view that the wishes of Biafran families must be respected above all else, and so has decided not to participate in any evacuation Of children beyond the neighbouring countries.
As soon as circumstances permit. Caritas will favour the return of evacuated children to their own families and environment,
Meanwhile, Caritas is budgeting to spend £105,000 during the last quarter of this year on food, medical care and lodging for evacuated Biafran children. The Catholic relief organisation's supporters and friends throughout the world are being asked for contributions towards the cost.
In Biafra itself a large proportion of the relief aid is being devoted to the needs of the children. By the middle of last month Caritas was providing 275,000 meals daily at 372 feeding centres.
The big airlift of supplies into Biafra continues, and Nordchurchaid, the relief
agency sponsored by the Churches of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, has completed its 500th mercy flight from the island of Sao Tome.
Nordchurchaid's eight chartered planes have carried 4.800 tons of high-protein foods into Biafra.
Meanwhile Mr. Nils-Goran Gussing, a United Nations observer in Nigeria on humanitarian activities, has reported from Lagos on his latest tours to the southern and western fronts. His party was given free access to all places they wished to visit except those subject to ambushes or sniper attacks.
Mr. Gussing said of the Nigerian Federal Army's activities that both officers and men made a good impression. In every case the officers showed punctilious attention to discipline and repeatedly impressed on their troops the importance of observing the code of conduct.
Destruction of property varied considerably from area to area, but where it was ex
tensive there were no definite indications that wanton damage had been caused by Federal troops. North of Port Harcourt large agricultural areas had been laid waste.
Life in Calabar and Benin had returned largely to normal. but Onitsha and lkot Ekpene remained empty of civilian life.
Large numbers of the nonlbo peoples of the SouthEastern. Rivers and MidWestern States had remained in or returned to their own areas, but there was hardly any suggestion of educated urban Mos returning.
In one area civilians complained that Federal soldiers had taken their money and possessions. but a missionary said that he and five persons with him were well treated when his village was overrun by Federal troops.
Mr. Gussing said that with the exception of Calabar. Benin and Warn, life was still far from normal.
On relief measures, he said the most serious needs in many areas at present was additional