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Afghan Refugees Expected to Arrive ‘Any Day’ in N.H. and Mass.

The Manchester office of the International Institute of New England
Courtesy of Henry Harris
The International Institute of New England works with resettled refugees in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Some of the Afghan evacuees who fled their homes in the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover are expected to arrive in New Hampshire this month.

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The Ascentria Care Alliance, which resettles refugees in New Hampshire, is planning to welcome 100 Afghans to Concord.

Crissie Ferrera, who is coordinating the effort at Ascentria, says she is currently working with staff and around five Afghan families already in the Concord area to prepare for new arrivals.

The International Institute of New England, the other resettlement organization in New Hampshire, plans to bring 25 Afghans to New Hampshire and 150 to Massachusetts.

The Institute says it trying to resettle refugees close to friends and family, many of whom arrived in Lowell and Manchester after 2007. Emma Tobin, chief program officer at the Institute, says that as the situation in Afghanistan worsened in August, the Institute worked with former clients to identify loved ones there and help them evacuate safely.

Many didn't get out, but Tobin says those who did are going through bureaucratic proceedings with the U.S. government and could arrive in New England “any day.”

She says communities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts are offering to host families when they arrive. Others are donating household items and money.

“We're taking people up on those offers and we want to have as many things in place and ready to go the moment folks step off the plane,” she says.

As of last week, 30,000 Afghan refugees had already arrived in the U.S., and tens of thousands more are expected.

Tobin says the Institute is trying to strike a balance of helping the resettlement effort and assessing its capacity to support families in the long term.

“We know that we need to resettle people in dignity,” she says. “We need to resettle them safely; we need to make sure they have the resources that it takes to get off their feet in the United States and that our organization has the resources to serve them well.”

Note: This is a developing story and will be updated.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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