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Church World Service is the Relief and
Development Agency of the 36 member denominations of the National Council
of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
36 Denominations & Communions Working Together to Meet Human Needs
At a Glance:
- Security situation in Pakistan seriously hampers relief efforts
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The security situation in Pakistan, particularly in the border areas, continues to pose a serious obstacle to the humanitarian effort underway in the region.
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today's briefing in Islamabad by the United Nations offices for Pakistan and Afghanistan (excluding the Question and Answer session).
October 10, 2001 - The International Rescue Committee continues to deliver lifesaving assistance to displaced families within Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in Pakistan, in spite of the precarious security situation in both countries. IRC international staff, withdrawn from Pakistan as a security precaution immediately after the September 11th attacks in the United States, have returned to Peshawar, Pakistan to coordinate emergency programs.
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) today issued qualified support for the U.S. government's plan to airdrop food aid to civilians in Afghanistan, calling such air drops expensive, ineffective, and risky, but recognizing that, at the moment, they are one of the only means available to the international community to reach Afghan civilians at risk.
1. Background of the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan
For an expatriate entering Afghanistan, it is important to know that the Afghan culture is about politeness, respect and hospitality. When visiting even the poorest home, at least a cup of tea will be offered to the guest. Rejecting it will surely offend the host.
Appeal coverage: 13%
The United Nations estimates there are 7.5 million people in Afghanistan and border countries who are considered vulnerable.
Population: 26,813,057 (July 2001 est.)
Peshawar, Pakistan, 10 Oct 2001 - Afghanistan is in ruins after 23 years of war and the situation is about to become more critical for the country's desperate and war-weary citizens, says Sigurd Hanson, who oversees the International Rescue Committee's refugee aid programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
By now, it is a relatively well-known fact that the people of Afghanistan have been suffering from the ravages of war and drought for decades. The average life expectancy in Afghanistan is 40 years old and as many as 20% of children in certain drought-affected areas will die before reaching the age of five. As air strikes in retaliation for the September 11 attacks on the US continue, concern for the people of Afghanistan grows. "No matter the final destination of those Afghanis now displaced by the current conflict, this is without a doubt a huge humanitarian crisis in the making.
By, RICHARD READ
From Press Conference 9 October 2001
Mr. Hattori: Moving on, I have received reports that the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) aircraft, the six C-130Hs, have just arrived in Islamabad in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. These six SDF aircraft are carrying emergency assistance materials for the Afghan refugees. After unloading their cargo, those aircraft are supposed to leave Islamabad as soon as possible and return to Japan.
Western relief workers may struggle to assist civilians uprooted by fighting in Afghanistan.
The international medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today expanded upon its position on air drops being undertaken by US and British military forces and the need for independent humanitarian relief inside Afghanistan.
The Executive Director of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, Mr Graham Tupper, today called for the immediate release of the eight Shelter Now aid workers imprisoned in Afghanistan, including Australians Peter Bunch and Diana Thomas.