The people of NoVA are coming together to help Afghan refugees.
Recent events in Afghanistan have imploded across the international news scene. Last week, the Taliban overtook the Afghan capital city of Kabul while Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates. Since then, people in Kabul have been looking to leave, on top of President Biden announcing the departure of U.S. troops after decades' worth of helping the Afghan people. At this time, it only seems issues in Afghanistan, and especially Kabul, may escalate.
Still, countries and cities all over the world are helping those Afghan refugees out where they can. One of those places is at Dulles Expo Center, located in Chantilly, Virginia. Recently, numerous refugees from Kabul and other Afghan places had landed at Dulles airport and been transported to the NoVA Community College, which closed its Annandale campus for at least 200 refugees who were placed in ballrooms and community rooms.
#NOW: This @GoNationalAir plane just landed at @Dulles_Airport with close to 270 Afghan refugees.— Jess Arnold (@JessArnoldTV) August 21, 2021
It’s one of multiple flights the airline is making for the U.S. gov to help get people out of Afghanistan. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/z3pUGPHD0j
Following their relocation, the refugees have been helped by Fairfax volunteers who have provided cots, food, and water, among other items. Prince William County's Dar Alnoor Islamic Community Center has played a big part in their provision.
Volunteer Sear Baluch commented on the situation, saying, "They are very sad because they left the life they were used to back home, they were so comfortable and coming to another country … there are things you have to start all over from, start from zero and those are the challenges they have told me, but we are here to help them in any way we can."
Another volunteer, Sahar Naimi, spoke of the situation as well: "We've had people putting their own money into buying medicine for these people all day long ... And to see these refugees so traumatized, we didn’t realize how much it meant to them to come in and to have somebody who looked like them talk to them, just to say ‘Hey how are you doing, do you need a towel, do you need some snacks?’ Let's play together.'"
These words really put into perspective the trauma and change the Afghan refugees must be experiencing.
"It's an immeasurable amount of heartfelt work that went into this," said NoVA's spokesperson Hoang Nguyen. "The sentiment was that everyone wanted to be there for them. And it was just a great experience to assist those through this process."
The State Department eventually moved refugees from the NoVA campus instead of placing them at the Dulles Expo Center, where volunteers continued to provide help, including supplies, support, translators, toothbrushes, and clothes.
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