Appeal For Afghan Refugees

Oct 01, 2001, 01:00 ET from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Association for the United
 Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (USA for UNHCR), a charity based in
 Washington, DC, has launched an urgent appeal for private donations to benefit
 Afghan refugees who are fleeing into Pakistan and other neighboring countries.
 The campaign seeks to highlight the needs of millions of innocent victims
 attempting to escape war-torn Afghanistan.
     "Americans understand what it means to run away from repressive leaders,"
 says USA for UNHCR Executive Director Jeffrey Meer, "and we need to assist
 these innocent victims of terror right now."  UNHCR is presently providing
 relief to more than 2 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 1.5 million in
 Iran, and more than 100,000 in other neighboring countries.  Some 80 percent
 of these refugees are women and children.  As many as 1.5 million additional
 Afghans may try to flee into Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan in the coming
 weeks.  UNHCR will provide emergency food, medical care, tents, blankets,
 kitchen utensils, and clean water for the refugees.
     USA for UNHCR is mindful that many Americans are focused on stopping
 terrorism, so that the madness of September 11 is never repeated.  "Americans
 are responding generously to the needs of affected families and communities in
 New York and Washington," says Meer.  "And now, a similar response is being
 generated for innocent Afghan victims who also suffer from the effects of
 terrorism and persecution.  Without our help, thousands of Afghans could
 perish in the coming weeks," says Meer.
     UNHCR last week launched a worldwide appeal for $268 million to meet the
 needs of the humanitarian crisis in and around Afghanistan.  Already many
 individuals have responded, including actress Angelina Jolie, who gave $1
 million for the fund.  Signaling the importance of this need, the US
 Government has contributed an initial $4 million.  UNHCR was established in
 1951 to protect and provide assistance to uprooted persons worldwide.  The
 organization has twice won the Nobel Prize for Peace.
     Donations can be made by calling 800-770-1100, or at .  Checks can be sent to:  USA for UNHCR, 1775 K
 Street, NW, Suite 290, Washington, DC  20006.  USA for UNHCR is a 501(c)(3)
 charitable organization.
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SOURCE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees