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A 'monumental' waste of money

Letters

I apologise for the delay in responding to your article about the re-enactment of the 300km journey of the Bluestones to Stonehenge (NCE 24 February). It often takes several weeks for NCE to reach the distant and forgotten regions of central Asia.

Our organisation is trying to help two villages in northern Tajikistan. The villages, which were built to house ecological migrants whose previous homes and livelihoods were destroyed by landslides and floods, are in a desperate state. Many of the houses are simply mud brick shell without ceilings, doors and windows. The 42 families are enduring their third winter in these appalling conditions with temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius.

The nearest drinkable water supply for one village is a broken pipe 2 km away and the other village has no electricity. There is no gas. The sanitation arrangements are often no more than a shallow uncovered pit behind the house.

We have tried, unsuccessfully, for a year to raise the US$100,000 needed to provide weather proof homes, a potable water supply, minimal electricity supply, sanitary latrines and an earth access road to each village.

This is little over half the cost of the Millennium Stone project which may be an interesting project from a technical point of view, but what a 'monumental' waste of money.

Chris Cliff (M), director, global operations and development (Panjakent), 4th Floor, 85 Rudaki, Panjakent Tajikistan 735500

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