Bay Area preparing to receive Afghan refugees

CONCORD, Calif. (KRON) — In the East Bay, preparations are being made to receive Afghan refugees who are trying to escape the desperate situation in that country.

KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun spoke with a University of San Francisco professor who is leading the effort.

We have all seen the images of people in Afghanistan frantically trying to reach the U.S. Airbase desperately trying to get on a plane leaving the country.

“It’s a very emergency situation and that’s why we want to get involved and offer help,” Sedique Popal said.

This weekend, emergency help for Afghan refugees will be coordinated at the Noor Islamic Cultural Community Center in Concord. USF professor of Applied Linguistics, Sedique Popal is also the president of Noor.

“We try to mobilize. Plan,” Popal said. “That once these immigrants, these refugees come from Afghanistan, what could be their needs? They are only given a few hours to leave the country. They do not bring anything with them. That’s why we need to be prepared to help them.”

The first step will be creating a list of those basic needs. Then creating care packages to be distributed at a moments notice.

“You don’t know how many refugees are coming and you don’t know when they are coming.”

“Both of these are unknowns,” Popal said.

One thing that professor Popal does know and that’s what it is like to be an Afghanistan refugee. That is because he fled his country back in 1980 following the Soviet invasion.

“5 million Afghans, as a result of their invasion and brutality left the country,” Popal said. “I was one of those 5 million people.”

If you want to be among the people helping the Afghan refugees when they arrive in the Bay Area, you’re invited to attend a preparations meeting this Sunday at 10 a.m. at Noor Islamic Cultural and Community Center in Concord. The meeting is open to the public.

“All Americans, regardless of their political affiliations are affected by what they see on their TV screens and they’re prepared to help,” Popal said.

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