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DATE=4/23/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248508 TITLE=AFGHAN U-N (L) BYLINE=ALI ZAIDI DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE UNITED NATIONS SAYS FUNDING SHORTAGES ARE SEVERELY AFFECTING RELIEF AND REPATRIATION EFFORTS FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES. PAKISTAN IS STILL SHELTERING MORE THAN A MILLION REFUGEES AS THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN DRAGS ON. ALI ZAIDI REPORTS FROM ISLAMABAD. TEXT: TWENTY THOUSAND AFGHAN REFUGEES LIVING IN TWO CAMPS INSIDE PAKISTAN ARE TO BE LEFT WITHOUT FOOD SUPPLIES AT THE END OF THE MONTH. THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM (W-F-P) SAYS IT DOESN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO CONTINUE FEEDING THEM. THE REFUGEES WHO WOULD BE AFFECTED BY THE FOOD CUT-OFF ARE RELATIVELY RECENT ARRIVALS IN PAKISTAN, BUT AFGHANS HAVE REMAINED THE LARGEST CASE-LOAD OF REFUGEES IN THE WORLD FOR ALMOST 20 YEARS. W-F-P SPOKESWOMAN SUSAN MANUEL SAYS THIS IS AN INDICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S LACK OF INTEREST IN FURTHER SUPPORTING AFGHAN REFUGEES. // MANUEL ACT // W-F-P HAS BEEN FEEDING 20,000 OF THESE NEW ARRIVALS EVERY MONTH SINCE EARLY 1997, UNDER AN EMERGENCY STATUS PROGRAM WHICH COST U-S 2 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. UNFORTUNATELY THAT PROJECT HAS NEVER BEEN FULLY BACKED BY THE DONORS, AND WE'VE BEEN BORROWING THE FOOD AID FROM OUR AFGHANISTAN PROGRAM TO KEEP THIS PROGRAM IN PAKISTAN GOING. NOW OUR AFGHANISTAN PROGRAM IS BACK IN FULL GEAR OR HEADING BACK TO FULL GEAR AND THEY CAN NO LONGER AFFORD THESE LOANS AND THEY'VE NEVER BEEN REPAID BY THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM (IN) PAKISTAN. // END ACT // THE U-N FOOD AGENCY SAYS IT DESPERATELY NEEDS FUNDING ALLOCATIONS BY APRIL 30, OR THE EMERGENCY FOOD AID WILL STOP. ABOUT 1.2 MILLION REFUGEES LIVE IN CAMPS INSIDE PAKISTAN; MOST HAVE BEEN HERE FOR MANY YEARS AND ARE NOW CONSIDERED "SELF-SUFFICIENT" BY THE U-N. THERE ARE ALSO A LARGE NUMBER OF REFUGEES LIVING ELSEWHERE IN PAKISTAN WHO ARE UNACCOUNTED FOR BY THE UNITED NATIONS. AT THE HEIGHT OF THE REFUGEE CRISIS IN 1990, PAKISTAN HOSTED OVER THREE MILLION AFGHAN REFUGEES FLEEING THE SOVIET INVASION AND THE SUBSEQUENT WAR IN THEIR COUNTRY. THE UNITED NATIONS SAYS FUNDING SHORTAGES HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY ACUTE SINCE LAST YEAR, AND ALL RELIEF AGENCIES ARE BEING AFFECTED. AMONG THOSE MOST AFFECTED IS THE REPATRIATION EFFORT OF THE U-N'S REFUGEE AGENCY, THE U-N-H-C-R, WHICH IS TRYING TO ENCOURAGE AFGHANS TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND. U-N OFFICIALS SAY AN AVERAGE OF ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AFGHANS HAVE VOLUNTARILY RETURNED TO THEIR COUNTRY EVERY YEAR FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS. THE U-N-H-C-R IS PLANNING FOR A SIMILAR NUMBER TO BE REPATRIATED THIS YEAR, BUT OFFICIALS SAY THOSE TARGETS COULD BE BADLY AFFECTED BY FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS. THE FUNDING SHORTAGE IS PRIMARILY AFFECTING RE-INTEGRATION PROJECTS IN AFGHANISTAN, WHICH OFFICIALS FEAR COULD MAKE MANY AFGHAN REFUGEES RELUCTANT TO RETURN. WITH THE SUMMER "HIGH SEASON" FOR REPATRIATION NEARING, U-N-H-C-R HAS APPEALED TO DONOR AGENCIES TO CONTINUE AIDING THE REPATRIATION EFFORT. BUT SO FAR THE AGENCY HAS RECEIVED COMMITMENTS OF ONLY ABOUT A MILLION DOLLARS, AGAINST THE 2.4 MILLION DOLLARS IT HAS REQUESTED FOR REPATRIATION PROJECTS. U-N OFFICIALS SAY THE SITUATION IN KOSOVO IS GOING TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE DIFFICULT TO CONVINCE DONORS TO CONTINUE FUNDING FOR THE AFGHAN REFUGEES.. (SIGNED) NEB/AZ/LTD 23-Apr-99 8:09 AM EDT (1209 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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