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Iowa Prepping to Resettle 350 Refugees from Afghanistan

A recently evacuated young Afghan boy carries a child at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base, Germany, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. The largest American military community overseas housed thousands of Afghan evacuees in an increasingly crowded tent city. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

(Radio Iowa) Refugee resettlement agencies in Iowa are preparing for more refugees who were evacuated from Afghanistan last month. The Des Moines office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has already resettled one family and it expects the capacity to stretch to about 350 more Afghan refugees. Kerri True-Funk is the office’s director.

True-Funk says, “We’re going to get overwhelmed pretty quickly, just with the number of ongoing arrivals that we have, in addition to Afghan folks.” She says agency has received an outpouring of support from many Iowans for the effort, including the governor’s office. After consulting with the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services, True-Funk says the hundreds of expected Afghans are in addition to the agency’s scheduled arrivals from other countries.

“We haven’t started getting the bulk of people that were airlifted out at this point,” she says. “They are still in processing, so we’re kind of seeing how it goes along and playing it by ear.” True-Funk says USCRI is being overwhelmed with calls from Iowans who want to help. The best way to do that, she says, is through cash donations.

(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)


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