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Looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.



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LAURIE BRERETON MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

• • •• NEWS RELEASE • • •• NEWS RELEASE • • •• NEWS RELEASE • • •• 69/01 25 September 2001

LOOMING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN

“Any effective strategy to stop Afghanistan from being used as a terrorist haven must deal with a looming humanitarian crisis”, the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, said today.

“While there is a necessary focus on preparations for possible military action against terrorist groups in Afghanistan and those who harbour them, it is vital that the international community work together to prevent a potential human catastrophe.”

“In a report late last week, Oxfam International warned that over the next six months tens of thousands of Afghanis may die from starvation if the United Nations World Food Program is unable to resupply food from outside Afghanistan.”

“During the past twenty-four hours the United Kingdom and Japan have pledged major contributions of emergency aid to help Afghanistan’s neighbours deal with the expected influx of refugees.”

“Much more aid will be required, inside and outside Afghanistan, and the whole international community, including Australia, will have to contribute over coming months.”

“It would be a further terrible tragedy if the hunt for the terrorists were to proceed in the midst of a humanitarian disaster for tens of thousands of innocent Afghani people -- victims of the Taliban regime.”

Attached for information is a brief on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan released by Oxfam International.

Contact: Philip Dorling 02 6277 4717 or 0418 861 602