Afghan evacuees arrive in North Texas

Texas Refugee Services reported that between August 1 and 23, the group welcomed 75 Afghan families with SIV. 19 were placed in Dallas and 10 in Ft. Is it worth it.

DALLAS: Located in a Dallas apartment complex, you can see how the idea of ​​a woman who started five years ago came to life: shampoo bottles, cleaning supplies, and other household items.

Zeenat Khan is the director of DFW Refugee Outreach Services, which serves hundreds of refugees in North Texas. Last week, he said he has already been in contact with seven Afghan families who have recently evacuated.

“I feel we will see a lot of refugees. The last one I spoke to arrived last night,” Khan said. “He’s reporting breakups. Just very difficult scenarios to go home and leave your loved ones.”

Even before the Taliban invaded Kabul this month, Khan said DFWROS was serving about 400 Afghan refugees in North Texas.

“When the women got together, they would tell us what was going on at home,” Khan said. “I could see they were distressed and talking to each other. We started to prepare mentally and even physically. God forbid if we get to where we are seeing a lot of displaced refugees, at least we are prepared.”

They supplied more supplies and waited.

The Taliban invaded. Lives are continually lost. The deadline for evacuations is approaching.

“You know, families right now are worried and chaos … chaos because no one knows right now what’s going on,” Khan said.

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Khan said he hopes several Afghans who can evacuate can do so because they have special immigrant visas (SIVs) to work with the U.S. military. He said the future is not clear to those who do not.

Texas Refugee Services reported that between August 1 and 23, the group welcomed 75 Afghan families with SIV. 19 were placed in Dallas and 10 in Ft. Is it worth it.

The organization has planned a certain number of SIV for its fiscal year, which will end on September 30. After adding the Afghan families who arrived this month, Dallas has 30 places left. Fort Worth has 60.

At DFWROS, there are storage units filled with donated items to meet everyday and practical needs. Events for children are organized on weekends. There are even professional instructors who come to teach classes on things like citizenship, cooking and making women.

Each family receives a mentor through DFWROS.

“All I wanted to do was counsel,” Khan said. “I felt like we could give them things, but if we don’t have someone listening in there, it won’t work.”

RELATED: “A nightmare. I think I’m dreaming: North Afghan Afghan describes horror stories outside Kabul as two local airlines prepare to send aid

Stress and trauma

When it comes to health care, Brian Hawkins, CEO of HHM Health, said the faith-based clinic is ready.

“Many of them have gone through a lot of stress, a lot of trauma and are afraid to seek medical attention for both their body and their mind,” Hawkins said.

The clinic largely serves the DFW refugee community in its two locations. The clinic offers everything from women’s health services to pediatrics, dental and behavioral care. They also provide interpreters and translators who can help provide services in 68 languages.

Hawkins said they are specifically positioned to address the unique challenges of serving patients who have struggled to evacuate.

“You have a lot of people running away because they are afraid of their government. Now they have to rely on another government and another system of individuals trying to reach out and help them, ”Hawkins said.

Like Hawkins, Khan’s experience in the evacuation service has prepared her for what happens next. He said his main focus is to serve empathy and provide hope at such a difficult time.

“Deep down in my mind, I have this anxiety,” Khan said. “I’m afraid these families won’t be able to get out of there, or the families that are here or are left behind … will they ever see each other? And be here in the next class in the morning.”

Khan said he received a shock of support from across Texas, other states and military bases after he began posting about stepping up efforts to prepare for Afghan refugees.

On September 3, the organization will host the first of a series of fundraisers to collect items for displaced families. You can find more information on the website.