Iran – In lieu of the rising death count from last week’s earthquake in Iran, the Bush administration eased restrictions on assistance by American companies and individuals. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a 90-day period, which began Saturday, in which Americans are able to donate funds to private organizations to be used for relief and reconstruction through acquiring licenses.
While donations of humanitarian relief items such as food, certain medicines, clothing and tents do not require a license; the decision is a visible show of support for NGOs (Non-government Organizations) and humanitarian agencies.
One of the agencies, World Help, expressed the urgency of the need in closed countries like Iran.
"The major need now is just for emergency items: water, food, clothing, medicine. They are there now distributing those items, seeing what the long-term needs are. We are trying to raise money from our donors to provide for those needs,” said World Help’s Noelle Yeatts.
According to Yeatts, doors to ministries and missions can open through such times of crises.
"There are Christians there--there's some Christians that we're working with. I think this is going to open opportunities that they never would have had. Since they're able to distribute these items, they're also going to have the opportunity to share the Gospel."