Tags: U.N. | Appeals | for | Afghan | Relief | Donations

U.N. Appeals for Afghan Relief Donations

Wednesday, 26 September 2001 12:00 AM

The Geneva-based U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 2 million people in and around Afghanistan could be impacted by any attacks.

"These figures are based on the worst case scenario, but then we simply must be prepared for the worst," High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers said in a statement.

The contingency fund appeal is the biggest since the war in Bosnia and other parts of former Yugoslavia, when the agency provided humanitarian assistance to more than 2 million refugees and internally displaced people at an estimated annual cost of $450 million in 1994 alone.

At the daily United Nations briefing in New York, spokesman Fred Eckhard said Secretary-General Kofi Annan has emphasized that "we should not forget the needs of the Afghan people."

The agency, which provides humanitarian support to more than 21 million refugees worldwide, said the appeal presented to donor countries includes estimates for the influx of 1 million refugees in Pakistan, 400,000 into neighboring Iran, 50,000 into Tajikistan and 50,000 into Turkmenistan.

The contingency plan, UNHCR said, anticipates a massive relief effort that includes construction and maintenance of refugee camps, as well as delivery of more than 80,000 tents, hundreds of thousands of health and hygiene kits and large amounts of other relief supplies.

UNHCR said it also has factored in additional contingency planning to supply humanitarian aid to 500,000 people inside Afghanistan if necessity.

The statement by Lubbers, a former Netherlands prime minister, said: "Today, we are witnessing an unprecedented global effort to combat terrorism. We need a similarly unique effort to deal with possible humanitarian consequences of whatever happens in Afghanistan. We count on the donors' generosity."

UNHCR said it could send 700 people to deal with any crisis, in addition to more than 500 already working in countries surrounding Afghanistan. The agency said most would be sent to Pakistan and Iran, while some would go to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Kris Janowski, UNHCR spokesman, told United Press International the prospects of getting the donations are quite good. "We're confident we will get the money," he said.

Janowski said the agency had positive signals from principal donors in Europe, United States and Japan.

He stressed, however, this is a contingency appeal. "It's unpredictable what will happen but we're planning for large refugee numbers inside and outside Afghanistan."

The agency said it already has received pledges totaling $6.5 million in response to an early appeal for start-up funds to get the operation off the ground.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The Geneva-based U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 2 million people in and around Afghanistan could be impacted by any attacks. These figures are based on the worst case scenario, but then we simply must be prepared for the worst, High Commissioner Ruud...
U.N.,Appeals,for,Afghan,Relief,Donations
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2001-00-26
Wednesday, 26 September 2001 12:00 AM
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