Translators, donations sought to help Afghan evacuees arriving in Philadelphia

City of Philadelphia

As the City of Philadelphia continues to welcome evacuees, volunteers and donations are needed to help resettle those fleeing Afghanistan.

Many of refugees coming to Philadelphia do not speak English and the city is asking for help from volunteers who can interpret in Dari, Pashto, Urdu, or Farsi.

All volunteers who can provide interpretation services are required first to sign up as members of the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)—a group of more than 2,500 volunteers who serve the city during public health emergencies and large-scale events. To sign up, visit the SERVPA website and select “Medical Reserve Corps Organizations” from the drop down menu and then select “Philadelphia MRC” from the secondary menu. The MRC is actively reviewing applications.

City of Philadelphia

Through Operation Allies Refuge PHL, a total of 2,386 evacuees arrived in Philadelphia from Aug. 28-30, with hundreds more expected to arrive on six flights Tuesday.

City, state, and federal agencies as well as local hospitals and nonprofits have been on-site to provide food, diapers, hygiene products and transportation. Evacuees were also provided with a medical evaluation—including a required COVID test—as well as support services and an opportunity to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

“I’m very pleased with the high level of coordination occurring at PHL Airport to best welcome Afghan evacuees into our country,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement. “I thank all of the city departments involved as well as state and federal agencies, local hospitals, nonprofit partners, and volunteers who have stepped up to aid our Afghan brothers and sisters during this critical time.”

City of Philadelphia

Although donations are needed, supplies are not being accepted at the Philadelphia International Airport for security reasons. Instead, people are asked to send monetary donations to vetted groups that are providing immediate and long-term aid. In Philadelphia, the City’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is working with Nationalities Services Center and HIAS Pennsylvania.

If you wish to donate material goods, the United States Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey has created a list of goods and materials to donate directly to incoming refugees including clothing (men, women and baby), blankets, shoes, underwear, socks, towels, diapers, wipes, and baby food. HIAS Pennsylvania is also accepting in-kind donations.

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