In late August, more than 50 local American Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock to welcome Afghan evacuees as they arrived at Philadelphia International Airport.
More than 25,000 Afghan residents – many of whom assisted with U.S. military or humanitarian missions – have fled their country and arrived via plane to Philadelphia. Most have come with little more than the clothes on their backs.
These families have been through dangerous journeys and local volunteers were honored to provide comfort and care in their time of greatest need. Many people arriving will know the red cross emblem from their time in Afghanistan. As one of the most widely recognized symbols in the world, people know they can depend on us for help.
At Philadelphia International Airport, the Red Cross was there with essentials, from nourishing meals and snacks to baby care items, such as cribs and diapers. In just the first week, the Red Cross provided more than 38,000 snacks, 13,000 relief supplies, nearly 1,000 comfort kits and more than 800 cots.
People left critical items behind in the rush to evacuate, so the Red Cross also replaced prescription medications, eyeglasses, canes, wheelchairs and other basic needs.
After processing at the airport, families were taken to New Jersey by bus, where they are temporarily staying at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
As government agencies have expanded their capacity to care for evacuees, onsite Red Cross support at military sites and airports in the U.S. transitioned to other organizations at the end of September.
The Red Cross is fully committed to working with government partners moving forward to help ensure appropriate humanitarian care stays in place to aid families.