Christian relief organizations are joining the rush to provide food, shelter, and medical care to millions of Afghanistan's border-crossing refugees and people who are displaced within the country. International agencies rushed to provide emergency aid when American and British forces began attacking the Taliban regime after the terrorist strikes of September 11.

Andrew Natsios, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, says more than 3 million Afghans are living as refugees, and another 1 million are internally displaced. Natsios says 1.5 million Afghans may starve by winter's end and 5 to 7 million are dependent on outside food aid. Afghanistan has a population of 26 million.

"We're all trying to figure out where people are going, where they're staying, and ways we can help," says Dale Hanson Bourke of World Relief, the assistance arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. The agency has resettled 230 Afghan refugees in the United States this year. It is distributing food, medical supplies, and shelters— purchased with funds from international donors—to refugees through a small number of churches in Iran.

In other Christian relief activity: World Vision has sent more than 80 tons of tents, cooking utensils, blankets, and other supplies to Central Asia. Greater Europe Mission, Food for the Hungry, and World Concern are raising funds to buy 10,000 blankets for Afghan refugees.

Related Elsewhere

Related media coverage includes:
Disaster looms at refugee camps — BBC (Nov. 7, 2001)
Food aid for the AfghansThe News & Observer (Nov. 3, 2001)
Religious relief group plans hospital for Afghan refugeesThe News & Observer (Oct. 27, 2001)
Relief groups fear time is running outThe Seattle Times (Oct. 25, 2001)
Afghanistan situation 'fragile' says Short — BBC (Oct. 24, 2001)
Threats and confusion at Pakistan borderThe San Francisco Chronicle (Oct. 24, 2001)
World Vision sends $500,000 in relief supplies to Afghan refugees — Canada NewsWire (Oct. 19, 2001)
Aid agencies fear it is too late for food reliefThe Financial Times (Oct. 17, 2001)
Relief workers criticize linking of food drops with air raidsThe Financial Times (Oct. 8, 2001)

The World Relief official site has articles on resettling Afghanistan refugees to the United States.

On the World Vision site, the group's relief advisor in Pakistan participated in a Web chat on the refugee situation. The site has more on World Vision's work with refugees.

See more about the Blankets for Afghans program from World Concern, Food for the Hungry, and Greater Europe Mission.

Christianity Today's Opinion Roundup looked at the economic and political conditions that may hurt donations for overseas relief work.

For more on the situation in Afghanistan, see Yahoo! full coverage and World

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