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Afghan refugee relief work gets ‘go ahead’

The Salvation Army is developing plans to assist refugees fleeing the war and starvation in Afghanistan and is committed to providing humanitarian aid to those in need, said International Emergency Services Coordinator Major Mike Olsen.

According to Olsen, there are a number of possible avenues for Army assistance: through The Salvation Army in Pakistan, independently by IHQ in Uzbekistan or one of the other north border republics, or in cooperation with another faith-based non-governmental organization (NGO).

While the decision to provide aid in Pakistan working with SA Territorial Commander Commissioner Shaw Clifton was made two weeks ago, the Army has yet to begin assistance there. “The international humanitarian response agencies have had a difficult time in getting appropriate land to set up camps and in getting food to refugees,” Olsen said.

General John Gowans approved a parallel plan to examine the possibilities of assisting refugees along Afghanistan’s northern border among the former Soviet Union’s Asian Republics. Janetta Nuttall, IHQ, who holds a Russian passport, will fly to Tashkent this week to meet with government officials and the United Nations and assess what the Army can do.

Once the Army commits to one or more of the locations, raising additional donor funds, which will supplement the $250,000 already available, will be necessary.

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