WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Association for the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (USA for UNHCR), a charity based in
Washington, DC, today praised President George W. Bush's announcement that the
United States will contribute $295 million in new humanitarian relief for
refugees in Afghanistan and neighboring states.
"The world may soon face a humanitarian crisis of monumental proportions.
The President's response demonstrates America's leadership in recognizing that
the Afghan people, too, are victims of terrorism and desperately need our
help," said John W. Leslie, Chairman of the Board of USA for UNHCR.
More than 1.5 million refugees are expected to amass in new camps in and
around Afghanistan, in addition to more than 3.5 million Afghan refugees
already living in camps in Pakistan and Iran. The UNHCR is leading efforts by
an international coalition of humanitarian groups to establish as many as 100
new refugee camps to provide emergency food, water, shelter and medical care
for refugees. This effort has only a short window -- perhaps just six weeks
-- before the onset of Afghanistan's harsh winter.
Mr. Leslie said the Bush Administration's commitment is important to
saving tens of thousands of lives in Afghanistan in the weeks ahead. In
addition, he said there is a role for U.S. corporations, foundations and
individuals to also contribute to helping Afghan refugees through UNHCR.
"Americans are the most tolerant, compassionate and humane people in
history. We proved this in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, when
individual Americans and corporations donated tens of millions of dollars in
private contributions, even though the Bush Administration and Congress
quickly passed public funds for emergency relief and reconstruction efforts.
We can and should help Afghan refugees who are victims of terrorism just as we
have our fellow citizens," Mr. Leslie said.
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. 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
http://www.usaforunhcr.org . 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)
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SOURCE U.S. Association for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees