Hundreds of Afghan refugees arrive in Philadelphia

Philadelphia International Airport has turned into a welcome center for refugees in Afghanistan, handling hundreds of men, women and children fleeing the country when the US military leaves.

The City of Philadelphia provides up-to-date information on this initiative called the “Operation Allies Refuge PHL”.

On Saturday, the city reported that a total of 505 evacuees had passed the airport on two aircraft.

Hundreds more evacuees were expected on Sunday with three aircraft. The exact number of updates is scheduled for Monday.

Upon arrival, refugees enter Terminal A-East and find representatives of city, state, federal agencies, local hospitals, and nonprofits. These agencies provide services immediately after getting off the plane and customs clearance.

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A scene from Philadelphia International Airport when an Afghan refugee enters. (Philadelphia City)

These include culturally relevant foods and comfortable items such as stuffed animals, diapers and hygiene products.

They undergo a general medical assessment that includes the necessary COVID-19 testing, physical and mental health support services, and the opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

The refugees are then accompanied to collect their luggage and taken to their next destination.

The city of Philadelphia provides on-site interpreters in Dari, Pashto, Urdu and Persian, and has a baggage claim for reflection, meditation, prayer and religious compliance.

“We are very pleased with the advanced coordination being made at PHL Airport to welcome Afghan refugees to our country,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “Thanks to all relevant city departments, state and federal agencies, local hospitals, non-profit partners and volunteers for stepping up to support Afghanistan’s brothers and sisters during this crisis. We hope that this activity will accelerate in the next few days and we appreciate the support of the general public by volunteering and donating in the recommended way. “

Many refugees arriving in Philadelphia through this operation do not speak English. To communicate with them, the city seeks the help of volunteers who can interpret in Dari, Pashto, Urdu, or Persian.

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A scene from Philadelphia International Airport when an Afghan refugee enters. (Philadelphia City)

All volunteers who can provide interpreting services must first sign up as a member of the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). The MRC is a group of over 2,500 volunteers who serve the city during public health emergencies and large-scale events.

To sign up, go to the SERVPA website and go to the drop-down menu[Medical Reserve Corps Organizations]Select, then from the secondary menu[PhiladelphiaMRC]Choose. MRC is actively reviewing applications and will contact you as soon as possible.

The best way to support relief organizations is through financial donations to scrutinized groups that provide immediate and long-term assistance, the city said in a press release. In Philadelphia, the city’s Immigration Department works with the Nationalities Services Center and HIA Pennsylvania.

If you want to donate supplies, the United States Coast Guard’s Atlantic Strike Team, based at the McGile Dix Lakehurst Joint Base in New Jersey, has created a list of supplies and supplies to donate directly to refugees. HIAS Pennsylvania also accepts in-kind donations.

Currently, Philadelphia International Airport is not accepting donations.

Beth Brelje

Beth Brelje

Freelance reporter

Beth Brelje is a freelance research journalist covering the most interesting and sometimes hidden news in Pennsylvania’s politics, courts, and federal. Send her an idea for your story: