Anchorage prepares to welcome Afghan refugees

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 4:10 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage is getting ready to welcome dozens of Afghan refugees. In the weeks since the announcement was made, the community has rallied to prepare for them, according to Catholic Social Services Director Lisa Aquino.

Aquino said none of the expected 50-100 refugees have arrived yet, but the agency is starting to get a a few details about who might be coming.

“Some are households of two, and some are households that are larger, households with children,” Aquino said. “Most of the adults are working-age adults, and there seem to be more adult females than males.”

Aquino said all of the adults, many of whom worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan, have been vetted multiple times, for both security reasons and health concerns.

“All of them are up to date on their vaccinations including COVID, and are tested in terms of their health,” she said.

The resettlement program could bring Afghan refugees to the state anytime between now and March, but Aquino said she expects at least some will arrive within the next month.

“Our plan is that we are going to put them in more temporary kind of housing for two to four weeks until we get to know them, and then move them into more permanent housing,” she said.

The federal government will provide some funding to help with the resettlement, but Aquino said they will also be dependent on donations from the community to help get started with their new lives.

“The community is so important to this effort and they’ve already shown so much support,” she said.

People who would like to help can go to the Catholic Social Services website to see what items are needed as well as how to volunteer.

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