Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Afghan Relief

Written by Bernie Pennings
After the terrorist attacks on September 11 and the subsequent war on terrorists, Afghanistan and the plight of its residents have daily been in the newscasts. Word and Deed Ministries Canada (affiliated with Word & Deed Holland), a Reformed relief organization supported by the Free Reformed Churches, is committed to helping those in need in the name of Christ. Although we do not have any direct involvement in and around Afghanistan, we are accepting funds to help other Christian organizations that have a solid biblical foundation. Presently we are in contact with a number of such organizations. To acquaint you with the people and their needs some facts are presented (taken from the 2001 CIA World Fact-book unless otherwise noted).

Some General Facts About Afghanistan
*Population: 26,813,057 (July 2001 estimate).
*Life expectancy at birth: male 47 Years, female 45 years.
*People groups: Pashtun, 38%; Tajik, 25%; Hazara, 19%; (other ethnic groups (Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch and others), 12%; Uzbek, 6%. Most of the Taliban are Pashtun.
* Religions: Sunni Muslim 84%; ShiÕa Muslim 15%; other, including Christians 1%.
*Languages: Pashttu 35%; Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%; Turkic languages 11%; 30 minor languages 4%.
*13% of the population has access to safe water (UNICEF).
*12% of the population has access to adequate sanitation (UNICEF).
*Economy: Most people survive by subsistence farming or raising livestock. Afghanistan has historically been the worldÕs largest producer of opium poppies. The Taliban forbade poppy cultivation, leaving a large portion of the population without a source of income.

Recent History
*The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 occupying it for 10 years.
*Anti-communist forces known as ÒMujahidinÓ fought the Soviets until they withdrew after 10 years.
*Squabbles among the Mujahidin continued and Afghanistan descended into chaos
*The fundamentalist Islamic factions promised to bring order to the country, which many Afghans initially welcomed.
*The Taliban came to power in 1996 and controlled approximately two-thirds of the country and were based in the southern Afghan city of Kanadhar.
*The opposition forces, or Northern Alliance, were based in the far northern reaches of the country.

Conditions in Afghanistan
*Afghanistan has the third highest child mortality rate in the world. One-quarter of AfghanistanÕs children die before their fifth birthday (UNICEF).
*AfghanistanÕs maternal mortality rate is the highest in the world. Approximately every 30 minutes an Afghan woman dies giving birth (UNICEF).
Women bear the brunt of hunger much more than adult men; they will skip meals when food is scarce in order to feed husband and children, even when they have higher nutritional needs while they are pregnant or are nursing a child.
*Presently there are 7.5 million AfghanistanÕs at risk of starvation.
*Two-thirds of those at risk are women and children.
*1.5 million are children under the age of five (UNICEF).
*Even after the winter ends in March or April, millions will be vulnerable until the harvest comes in.
*Three years of drought have left the people without any stored food to help them through tough times.

Donations marked Afghan Relief will be gratefully received and should be sent to:

Word & Deed Ministries
32920 Talbot Line
RR # 3, Iona, Ontario
Canada. N0L 1P0
Tel. 1-877-375 (WORD) 9673
email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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