The White House Office of the Press Secretary
October 11, 2002
American Assistance to the People of Afghanistan
"Ultimately, one of the best weapons, one of the truest weapons that we have against terrorism is to show the world the true strength of character and kindness of the American people. Americans are united in ... our concern for the innocent people of Afghanistan."
President George W. Bush, October 11, 2001
Working together, America's private and public sectors have staved off starvation, immunized children, built schools, restarted agriculture, and improved health care in Afghanistan over the past year. The United States Government has provided $588 million to humanitarian assistance and reconstruction there since October 2001.
America's Fund for Afghan Children
Since President Bush announced America's Fund for Afghan Children one year ago, the fund has raised $10 million. This money purchased 1,750 school chests and 750 teacher kits, 130,000 school bags, and built new playgrounds for schools in Afghanistan. Winter relief items, health kits, and rehabilitation of clinics were also provided with these funds. The American Red Cross processed over 750,000 letters to the fund. For more information, see http://kidsfund.redcross.org.
U.S. Agency for International Development
USAID is concentrating on emergency food assistance totaling $138 million and agricultural rehabilitation of $36.7 million. The Office of Transition Initiatives is allocating $6 million to Afghan NGOs, with a particular emphasis on women's groups and community development projects. USAID plans to fulfill President Bush's $80 million pledge to help rebuild the road linking Kabul through Kandahar to Harat. Education projects include procurement of 10 million textbooks. USAID unveils a new website today on education in Afghanistan. See www.SchoolsForAfghanKids.org.
Department of Defense
From delivering 2.4 million humanitarian food rations worth $10 million to rebuilding 61 schools, American military personnel are helping the people of Afghanistan. Their efforts also include 10 water projects, digging a total of 83 wells that benefit 260,000 people. 15 Hospitals and medical facilities have been repaired that benefit 526,000 Afghans. 8 road and bridge projects are underway. Voice of America and the Afghan Information Ministry, with $10 million from DoD, are installing radio transmitters to rebuild the national radio network.
Department of State
In addition to coordinating programs for Afghan women and educational and cultural exchanges, the State Department is providing the United Nations and international NGOs with $124.5 million in refugee assistance funds for repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran and internally displaced persons. Projects include shelter, water and sanitation, as well as health and education for refugees. The State Department is allocating $7 million to clearing land mines in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Government provides over $20 billion in overseas assistance globally each year, but private giving by Americans amounts to even more than that. In 2001, estimates show that foundations, corporations, universities, religious congregations, volunteer organizations, and individual Americans have donated over $34.6 billion to humanitarian initiatives, emergency aid, and development assistance across the globe. These private donations total 60 percent of total American commitment abroad.
Congress is considering legislation authorizing $1.45 billion for Afghanistan over the next four years. As the ability to travel around Afghanistan continues to improve, private American institutions plan to implement more programs in Afghanistan.