GENEVA, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie
today became the first individual donor to respond to the refugee agency's
emergency appeal for more than $250 million to meet the enormous humanitarian
needs in and around Afghanistan.
The American actress told UNHCR that she will contribute $1 million to
help Afghan refugees in neighbouring asylum states such as Pakistan and Iran,
which already host more than 3.5 million refugees between them. During the
past year, Ms. Jolie has also contributed to UNHCR programs for refugees in
Africa and Asia.
Ms. Jolie visited Pakistan in August to meet refugees and get a first-hand
look at UNHCR's work and programs on behalf of the 2 million Afghans already
seeking refuge there. Having seen the dire plight of these refugees, she
feels a particular concern for their situation in the looming humanitarian
emergency now confronting the region.
High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers thanked Ms. Jolie for her
support: "This significant contribution from a concerned young American
reinforces my belief that, despite the trauma of recent events in her country,
a strong sense of humanitarian responsibility toward innocent civilians
suffering in far-off places continues to animate the spirit of caring
individuals everywhere," Mr. Lubbers said.
"The generosity of our Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie, has encouraged
all of us in the midst of an immense and complex emergency operation. We hope
that others will follow her example and help us continue to protect the lives
of the thousands of families fleeing their homes in Afghanistan," concluded
the High Commissioner.
Ms. Jolie's Journal about her August visit to Pakistan will soon be
published on the USA for UNHCR website (http://www.usaforunhcr.org ).
Facing a humanitarian crisis of perhaps unprecedented magnitude, UNHCR's
$268 million emergency appeal covers the needs for six months of a possible
influx of up to 1 million refugees into Pakistan; 400,000 into Iran; 50,000
into Tajikistan; and 50,000 into Turkmenistan. The agency is also doing
additional contingency planning to supply aid to 500,000 people inside
Afghanistan, if the necessity arises.
The contingency plan involves a massive relief effort which includes the
construction and maintenance of refugee camps and the delivery of more than
80,000 tents, hundreds of thousands of health and hygiene kits and a huge
amount of other relief items. Much of it would have to be airlifted to
Pakistan and Iran. UNHCR said it could deploy up to 700 international and
local staff to deal with the looming crisis, in addition to more than 500
staff already working in countries neighbouring Afghanistan.
UNHCR, which has won two Nobel Peace Prizes over the past 50 years, cares
for some 22 million refugees and other uprooted people in more than 100
For more information or to learn how you can help: http://www.unhcr.ch .
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SOURCE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees