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500-Plus Evacuated From Afghanistan Arrive In Philadelphia

US Afghanistan
Jose Luis Magana
/
AP
Families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, arriving in the United States on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021.

More than 500 people fleeing the violence engulfing Afghanistan have arrived in Philadelphia, officials said.

City officials said Sunday afternoon that 505 total evacuees came through Philadelphia International Airport on two aircraft Saturday. Several hundred more evacuees were anticipated Sunday on three aircraft but “this remains fluid and is subject to change," officials said.

City, state and federal agencies as well as hospitals and nonprofits are providing food, comfort items and hygiene products as well as a medical evaluation “that includes a required COVID test, physical and mental health support services, and the opportunity to get a COVID vaccination," officials said.

Volunteer interpreters who can help with Dari, Pashto, Urdu, or Farsi are being sought.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that many are being taken to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in southern New Jersey, which has a capacity for 3,500 evacuees and received 1,192 Afghans since Wednesday, according to U.S. Northern Command Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck.

The military hopes to expand the capacity there to 10,000, part of an effort to expand nationwide capacity to 50,000 by Sept. 15, VanHerck said.