WNY prepares to welcome Afghanistan refugees and help them relocate

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – As thousands try to escape Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul, Western New York is getting ready to welcome those refugees.

“Buffalonians are welcoming. We do help each other, and that shows up in helping refugees and immigrants as well,” said Eva Hassett, who’s the executive director of the International Institute. “We have been, we are, and we will be ready to welcome and support refugees, immigrants, special immigrant visa holders, people from Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Catholic Charities of Buffalo, The International Institute of Buffalo, Jewish Family Services of Western New York, Journey`s End Refugee Services, and Jericho Road are among the agencies helping Afghanistan refugees relocate.

“To stand again with this group and be saying we have more refugees coming in and we’re so excited and we’re ready to receive whatever Afghan community members we can receive during this crisis,” said Jericho Road Chief Program Director Dr. Anna Mango.

Local leaders are still waiting to find out when refugees will arrive in Buffalo, but when they do, they’ll help them get back on their feet.

“We want to make the city of Buffalo and the west side, welcoming for all immigrants and refugees, from all over the world,” said Buffalo common council member David Rivera.

“We have a well earned track record as a city that welcomes refugees, welcomes people starting a new life, and helping them start their new life,” said state senator Sean Ryan.

Officials anticipate a few thousand refugees will relocate to our region.

“Refugees and immigrants improve the quality of our lives,” Hassett said. “They help us understand the gifts that we have been accidentally blessed with as native born Americans, that not everybody has. They improve the quality of our lives in terms of helping us understand what’s going on in the world first hand.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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