MRDF remains committed to supporting Afghanistan's people in crisis

Despite this weeks' aerial attacks on Afghanistan, the MethodistRelief and Development Fund (MRDF) wishes to ensure its supportersthat it will continue supporting the relief effort on behalf of theAfghan people, who, because of conflict, drought and displacementremain at risk of famine.

People wishing to contribute to the Afghanistan appeal canchannel money through MRDF who are working through the Action byChurches Together (ACT *) network.

ACT member, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), is gearing up to assistnew waves of refugees expected to flee to the rural areas or acrossthe border to Pakistan. The latest news to reach NCA is that morethan 600 people have already starved to death near Darae Souf inthe northern part of the country. The information could not beconfirmed, but people familiar with the situation in that areabelieve it to be likely.

Before the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US and thisweek's allied military response, there were already about onemillion internally displaced people living in the country after athree-year severe drought and a civil war that has lasted at least20 years. Since then, thousands more have fled the towns for therural areas, many known for extremely cold temperatures at night.Blankets, food, water and shelter are desperately needed. Withwinter barely a month away, people need food that will last them atleast three months to prevent the need to keep moving in search offood.

A major problem for the ACT network is getting accurateinformation, as the Taliban has cut all communication lines out ofthe country. In spite of these problems, ACT partners have kepttheir programs open to help stave off further displacement ofpeople. About 1200 farmers in the district of Kabul received seed,as part of a program to combat drought. Six thousand familiesreturning to their village in Mazar-i-Sharif in Kabul receivedfood.

At the same time, in Pakistan, demonstrations have started allover the country by hard line religious parties. Peshawar has beentaken over by the army, over 10,000 people are demonstrating inQuetta and Christian localities have been attacked in severallocations.

For further information or to make a donation please contactKevin Fray at MRDF on 0207 467 5142.

Note - ACT is a worldwide network of churches and relatedagencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.It is supported by the Methodist Relief and Development Fund.