Support for relief effort in Afghanistan 'nothing short of amazing' - UN official

Support for relief effort in Afghanistan 'nothing short of amazing' - UN official

As winter's approach heightens the need to assist the beleaguered people of Afghanistan, United Nations officials today said there had been a groundswell of support for the relief effort from governments and individuals alike.

Calling this outpouring "nothing short of amazing," Eric Falt, the Director of the UN Information Centre in Islamabad, told reporters that "the United Nations here - but also elsewhere around the world - has been flooded with individual expressions of support for the humanitarian situation in the region," apart from the backing it had received from many countries.

Mr. Falt said that in addition to offers of financial contributions, "we are getting a lot of offers of help from people who feel moved by the situation and who are quite literally ready to jump in an airplane to come and help us." He cited the example of a citizen of New Zealand who had reported that she felt "personally concerned with the plight of the people of Afghanistan."

Offering another such example, UN spokesperson Stephanie Bunker quoted from a letter received from a US citizen. "I am a survivor of the World Trade Center tragedy," the letter said. "I worked after the event with the New York police to connect with families of my company's missing people - we lost 225." The writer went on to ask for information on how to get involved in the relief effort, saying, "This is a moment in my life where I have energy, spirit and will to help in any way I can."

Mr. Falt noted that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were a good vehicle for individuals seeking to offer their time. He added that anyone wishing to pledge funds could do so by supporting the work of UN agencies working in the area or by contributing to the UN Afghan Emergency Trust Fund, which is administered by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Contributions can also be made through NETAID at its website,