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World Vision launches Afghanistan Relief Effort

AFGHANISTAN: World Vision launches first phase of relief effort...

World Vision last week began the first phase of its operations to bring relief to millions of Afghans suffering the ravages of war and drought.

Four container loads of supplies left the agency's warehouse in Denver with family survival kits sufficient to supply 10,000 people. Supplies will be boosted with stores from another agency warehouse in Hamburg.

The kits contain emergency food, blankets, water containers, cooking pots, eating utensils, soap, matches, sanitation packages, and plastic tarpaulin.

In addition containers carry extra blankets and tents to mitigate the onset of winter.

The agency has orders with suppliers in Europe, Egypt, Pakistan, China and Gibraltar for more supplies to meet critical humanitarian needs.

Meanwhile World Vision relief teams are preparing for assignments in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, countries liable to face big influxes of refugees. The teams are also preparing for the possibility of entering Afghanistan itself.

World Vision New Zealand communications director Bruce Waldin said today the difficulty for humanitarian agencies was the volatile political situation.

"Our sources tell us the Taleban could possibly capitulate quickly. If this is true it will facilitate the delivery of aid within Afghanistan itself and have major implications for the deployment of staff and resources," he said.

But Mr Waldin added information coming out of Afghanistan was often scarce and unreliable.

"Last week we had reports that 20,000 refugees were due to cross into Pakistan near the town of Quetta but they have not been seen since - possibly they have retreated into the mountains."

The UNHCR says there were 5.5 million people in need of urgent assistance in Afghanistan prior to the September 11 attacks in the United States. The figure has now been revised to 7.5 million.

Support World Vision's appeal for Afghanistan.

New Zealanders Phone: 0800 80 2000.

Cost of providing a survival kit for one family is $NZ50


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