INDEPENDENT NEWS

Red Cross Increases Appeal For Afghanistan Crisis

Published: Fri 5 Oct 2001 08:53 AM
www.redcross.org.nz
4 October 2001 For immediate use
Red Cross Increases Appeal For Afghanistan Crisis
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is increasing its response to the potential humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, with plans to help up to 500,000 Afghan refugees get through the harsh winter.
To implement these plans, the International Federation is appealing for NZ$62 million which will be used to provide shelter, clean water and sanitation as well as basic health care for those leaving their homes.
New Zealanders can call 0900 – 33 100 to make an automatic $20 donation, or post a donation to: Freepost Red Cross, PO Box 12-140, Wellington. Credit card donations can also be made at www.redcross.org.nz.
In Pakistan, the International Federation and the Pakistan Red Crescent will provide shelter for up to 250,000 refugees. Tents and other relief items are already being pre-positioned in Quetta and Peshawar with additional supplies due to arrive in Pakistan tomorrow. Meanwhile, plans for setting up 25 basic health care units are also underway.
The International Federation has also joined a tripartite Afghan crisis task force with the Pakistan authorities and the United Nations on establishing refugee camps along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
Two New Zealanders are a central part of the Red Cross relief effort in Pakistan. Bob McKerrow, of Hokitika, is Head of the South Asian Regional Delegation for the International Federation and Alan Bradbury, of Whangarei, is providing disaster preparedness support.
”We don’t know how long this crisis will last and winter is fast approaching in the region,” said New Zealand Red Cross International Programmes Co-ordinator Greg Clewley. “But these measures will ensure that the Red Cross provides immediate assistance to all those that need it - whenever it is required.”
Iran and the three Central Asian republics of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are also being targeted. In Iran, already home to more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees,
the Iranian Red Crescent, with support from the International Federation, will cover the needs for up to 150,000 potential refugees. Health care through mobile clinics and a field hospital will also be provided.
While the focus is primarily on refugees leaving Afghanistan, the International Federation is also seriously concerned at the plight of all those inside the country. It is continuing its efforts to support the Afghan Red Crescent in running 48 health clinics, and also a number of water and sanitation programmes to help alleviate the suffering of communities hit by years of devastating drought.
Working with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation is aiming to send 500 medical kits to Afghanistan to ensure the clinics remain stocked and operational. This, as well as plans to restart its drought relief programmes, is part of a multi-faceted operation to help those in need both inside and outside Afghanistan.
For further information and/ or to set up interviews (ISDN line available) please contact:
Greg Clewley, NZRC International Programmes Co-ordinator. Tel: 04-472 3750 or 025-230 1984.
Denis McClean, Media Service, Geneva: Tel: +41 22 730 4428 or +41 79 217 3357
Jemini Pandya, Information Officer, Geneva Tel.: +41 22 730 4570 or + 41 79 217 3374. Duty phone: +41 79 416 3881
Thorir Gudmundsson, Information Delegate, Islamabad. Tel: + 92 320 4506 285.

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