Refugee assistance groups say effort to help Afghan refugees in early stages

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Today’s attacks in Afghanistan happen as tens of thousands of Afghans continue to be flown out of the country and into the United States and other nations.

Some Tri-State groups who help refugees are in very early stages of looking to help them if they arrive.
White House officials say nearly 100,000 people, including Afghan refugees, have been flown out of the country since mid-august. Back in Kentucky, Albert Mbanfu of the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green says some could head to Owensboro and Bowling Green.

“It depends on how many refugees are looked at by different resettlement agencies. We will know if those who are ready to travel have been assigned to either Bowling Green or Owensboro,” he explained.

He says it’s a fluid situation and in very early stages. Catholic Charities in Owensboro officials say a total of up to a few hundred may be settling in both cities, but no set number has been determined so far. Mbanfu says the process to clear refugees took anywhere from ten months to two years in the past. He adds it could be shorter this time, and they’ve gone through several background checks both in Afghanistan and the U.S. before they’re moved to new cities.

“They will have to run some background checks on them, and clear everything, dot their i’s and cross their t’s before these people are left to get out of the military camps and go into the cities,” says Mbanfu.
Mbanfu says if they arrive, groups like his will help find them housing and jobs. He adds affordable housing can be found, but has been harder than in the past.

“It is not totally absent, we can still find affordable housing, but it is a little more difficult now than it was before,” he said.

Mbanfu says people are already reaching out to his and other groups, looking for ways to help any Afghans settle in this country.

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