CBF creates Afghan refugee fund, World Vision partnership
October 19 2001 by Jim Newton , CBF Communications

CBF creates Afghan refugee fund, World Vision partnership | Friday, Oct. 19, 2001

Friday, Oct. 19, 2001

CBF creates Afghan refugee fund, World Vision partnership

By Jim Newton CBF Communications ATLANTA - Top executives of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and World Vision announced Oct. 18 a joint intent to respond to the Afghan refugee crisis, issuing a "declaration of love" for the innocent refugees of Afghanistan. CBF Coordinator Daniel Vestal and Global Missions Co-coordinator Barbara Baldridge reported the collaborative effort to CBF's Coordinating Council during the council's fall board meeting in Atlanta. World Vision is the largest Christian relief and development organization in the United States.

The lives of 7.5 million Afghans are at risk as they flee for safety in what is now the world's biggest refugee crisis. "These refugees lack food, clean water and medical care," the joint statement said. "When brutal winter descends, millions more will suffer."

"While the American government has declared war against the terrorists behind the deplorable attack on Sept. 11, we as Christians declare our love for the innocent refugees of Afghanistan, most of them women and children," Vestal said. "We must respond by putting our love into action.

"The needs are staggering," he said. "Military action against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has intensified the refugee crisis. The people of Afghanistan have endured three years of drought, two decades of civil war, and now aerial bombardment."

According to USAID, Afghanistan has the lowest per person calorie intake in the world. One out of every four children dies before the age of five. Refugees lack food, shelter, clean water and medical care.

Already, World Vision has sent thousands of Family Survival Kits to help the refugees. Each kit contains life-saving blankets, water purification kits, soap, food and cooking supplies and more.

World Vision has established an operating budget of $3.2 million to work through a humanitarian alliance with Afghan refugees who flee to the bordering countries of Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. As much as $20 million will be needed before winter ends.

"CBF and World Vision share many common values, including holistic ministry, participatory models, and transformation of communities," Vestal said. "World Vision's expertise in emergency response, coupled with CBF's global missions experience with volunteer deployment will make both organizations more effective in responding to this enormous crisis."

CBF has created an "Afghan Refugee Relief Fund" and has issued an appeal to its individual members and 1,800 churches to give sacrificially to enable a variety of ministries among the refugees.

Baldridge said David Harding, an agricultural development specialist with expertise in working with non-governmental organizations in the Mid-East and Africa, will serve as full-time project manager to coordinate the Fellowship's Afghan refugee response and partnership with World Vision.

CBF plans to recruit volunteers with professional expertise in areas such as health, refugee camp management, food distribution, shelter, trauma counseling, general administration and accounting/bookkeeping. When volunteers are needed, CBF will deploy and supervise small, professional teams of volunteers to help the refugees.

The Fellowship will also create a Web site devoted to Afghan relief ministries, providing updated information on prayer concerns, volunteer opportunities and online donations; bulletin inserts and other resources for churches; and practical suggestions for ways for churches and individuals to be involved. The URL address for the Web site, expected to go online by Nov. 1, is www.cbfafghanrelief.net.

Christians are urged to respond with compassion: "We have the opportunity to respond with love and hope instead of hate," the statement said.

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10/19/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jim Newton , CBF Communications | with 0 comments
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