USA for UNHCR Praises Bush Administration's Commitment Of Humanitarian Aid for Afghan Refugees

Oct 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from U.S. Association for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

    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 .  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 U.S. Association for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees