Afghan Quake Victims Need Blankets and Shelter

BALTIMORE, Maryland, MARCH 27, 2002 ( Shelter and blankets are among the most urgent needs for thousands left homeless by earthquakes in Afghanistan´s northern province of Baghlan, Catholic Relief Services reports.

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About 2,000 are feared dead and as many as 20,000 left homeless from the earthquakes Monday, which centered in the Hindu Kush Mountains, about 75 miles north of the capital, Kabul.

«Suitable shelter and blankets are the critical, immediate needs,» said David Swanson, CRS´ interim head of office in Kabul. «It is still very cold in this remote, mountainous region.»

Swanson added that CRS has 3,000 tents, 3,000 blankets and food items available for delivery. The agency is assessing other immediate needs as well as delivery options.

Emergency rescue and relief efforts likely will be complicated by the treacherous, snowbound routes leading to the Nahrin district — the area most devastated by the earthquakes — where nearly all homes have been destroyed. The area, also racked by drought and food shortages, is home to about 82,000 people, many of them refugees recently returning to their homes.

In recent months, CRS has distributed emergency food and materials to 180,000 people inside Afghanistan. CRS is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community.

Donation to CRS can be sent to: Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090. Or phone 1-800-736-3467.

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