News 4 Buffalo

Relocation agencies expect Afghan evacuees to land in Buffalo in a few weeks

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Nearly a month after the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan, hundreds of refugees who fled the Taliban are preparing to settle here in Western New York.

The resettlement agencies in Buffalo are comprises the Western New York Refugee and Asylee Consortium (WNYRAC) – Catholic Charities of Buffalo, International Institute of Buffalo, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Jewish Family Services of Western New York, and Journey’s End Refugee Services. The agencies are
expecting to help more than 350 Afghanistan refugees relocate here.

Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, who’s the interim executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo, expects organizations will start helping refugees in the next week or two.

She says the government is still processing and vetting people before they can come here. She says they’ll start with helping refugees who already have family members living here in Western New York.

“There’s nothing more terrifying than having to leave your homeland and scramble and leave,” Rizzo-Choi said. “You’re fearing for safety you’ve got kids you’re taking with you, and you have to settle somewhere else on the other side of the world, but Buffalo is a very welcoming city, this city is not new to refugees or immigrants, we’ve been doing this for a long time.”

Officials say the process of relocating refugees will be costly. RIzzo-Choi says as of right now, the refugees won’t be receiving as much government assistance. Because of that, the institution does have a fundraising page set up for people looking to donate.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.