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Caritas Australia launches Afghanistan appeal

Caritas Australia has launched a special appeal for funds to provide humanitarian relief for the refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

The agency is receiving donations to support Caritas International's humanitarian work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Caritas Australia has made an initial pledge of $A100,000 to this effort.

"The desperate situation of the Afghani refugees who have fled the military strikes, but are not being permitted to cross the border into Pakistan, demands an effective international response," said Caritas Australia National Director Jack de Groot. "We call on the government of Pakistan to open its borders so that these refugees can receive humanitarian assistance."

Donations received will contribute to the basic needs of Afghan refugees and displaced people: water, food rations, temporary shelters, fuel, bedding, clothing and health care. Over 200,000 refugees in Pakistan and over 200,000 displaced people in Afghanistan will be assisted through these efforts. Initial efforts will aim to ensure that refugees are equipped to survive the harsh winter in this region.

Two decades of war and three years of drought have placed millions of Afghanis in a desperate situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing Afghanistan, to escape the military reprisals for the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US. It is estimated that there over one million people in Afghanistan have been displaced since September.

Contributions made through Caritas Australia will be distributed through local partners with long experience of working in these areas. The Australian contact number for donations is 1800 024 413, or click here to donate online,

Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan