Taiwanese, US aid groups assisting Afghan refugees

REACHING OUT: Knightsbridge International met with the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation's founder to brief her on the progress of the aid mission

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Nov 21, 2001 - Page 4

As the cold of winter is to about hit war-torn Afghanistan, the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation and its US Chri-stian counterpart, the Knights-bridge International movement, yesterday announced a program to help Afghan refugees survive hunger and war.

Members of Knightsbridge International, including Sir Edward Artis and Walt Ratterman, visited Master Cheng Yen (證嚴法師), the founder of the foundation, to brief her on progress made in delivering food and necessities to Afghanistan.

"Knightsbridge International has once again worked to help Muslim refugees shattered by war, symbolizing an attempt at real world peace," a press release from the Buddhist foundation quoted Artis as saying.

The joint action is the third humanitarian effort that Tzu Chi and Knightsbridge International have shared in Afghanistan. They also participated in a project in Albania and Kosovo in 1999, according to the Knightsbridge Web site.

Artis said yesterday that related relief work during the first phase of aid, which began on Oct. 31 and ended on Nov. 11, had been focused on Hoji-malla refugee camp in the Cha-Ab region, among others.

It has been four years since the Cha-Ab region received any aid from humanitarian organizations, he said.

Huang Tsu-hsien (黃思賢), the supervisor of the Tzu Chi foundation's overseas relief work, said the second phase of relief work will start Dec. 15 and continue until the middle of January, focusing on Northern Afghanistan and Bamiyan.

The foundation has also been involved in relief work elsewhere in the Middle East.

Zachary Tse (謝景貴), a senior supervisor at the foundation, who previously worked as a well-paid broker with Merrill Lynch, is currently in Iran conducting related relief work.