Aid Work Resumes in Wake of Northern Alliance´s Advance

Caritas and U.N. Reaching Tens of Thousands of Families

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, NOV. 29, 2001 (ZENIT.orgFides).- Humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan has resumed after the Northern Alliance took control of most of the country.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), back in Kabul since Nov. 17, and Caritas Internationalis are assisting thousands of displaced Afghans.

A first UNHCR humanitarian convoy from Peshawar, Pakistan, reached Kabul on Sunday, carrying tents, blankets, plastic sheeting, and water cans sufficient for 10,000 people.

UNHCR is also distributing winter aid: stoves, coal, padded blankets, warm clothing. With the help of local nongovernmental organizations, UNHCR intends to assist 10,000 other displaced people in the area around the capital, who will probably not return home before the end of the winter.

U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services, a member of the Caritas Internationalis federation, is also working in Kabul. CRS has already distributed 20,000 blankets to families and will feed 4,000 families through the winter with humanitarian convoys, carrying 400 tons of supplies every three months.

To ensure that food reaches the families most in need, CRS works with Coordination Afghan Relief CoAR, a local group.

Another Caritas program, undertaken with CoAR and the U.S.-based International Rescue Committee, working in Afghanistan since 1988, will assist 10,000 families in Herat and Saryab, near the Iranian border. As soon as security conditions permit, the American Caritas hopes to aid people in Kandahar, still held by the Taliban.

On the Iran border, Cord Aid (Caritas Holland) helped to supply food rations to 400 families in Makaki camp and Mile 46 camp.

Each family was given a parcel containing oil, sugar, tea and 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of flour. These camps continue to be the destination of refugees from Kandahar and other parts of southern Afghanistan.

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