U.S. Military Building "Eight Small Cities" to House at Least 50,000 Afghan Refugees


Category:  World News

Via:  just-jim-nc-ttth  •  one month ago  •  6 comments

By:   Dan Avery (MSN)

U.S. Military Building "Eight Small Cities" to House at Least 50,000 Afghan Refugees
The makeshift facilities at nationwide bases will serve the newcomers' vital needs while they await more permanent homes

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

© Operation Allies Refuge

Military bases across the United States are welcoming tens of thousands of Afghan refugees, fashioning what amount to "small cities" on-base to address housing, food, medical care, sanitation, and other vital needs.

As of Friday, over 25,000 Afghan evacuees were being housed at eight U.S. bases, Air Force General Glen VanHerck, head of the U.S. Northern Command, told the Associated Press.

At Fort McCoy, the only Army installation in Wisconsin, between 8,000 and 8,800 refugees were on-site at the start of the weekend. A State Department official said that number would increase by Sunday; right now the base has a capacity to host up to 13,000 people. The effort is part of the Department of Defense and U.S. State Department's efforts to support what has been dubbed Operation Allies Refuge.

"As more and more people arrive, there are people who know each other," the official told the La Crosse Tribune. "People are finding out who are here and are connecting."

Arrivals are being housed in two-story buildings, 30 people per floor, in recently renovated buildings typically used as housing for the 150,000-plus recruits a year who arrive at Fort McCoy for training.

Outdoor spaces have been set aside for recreation, with soldiers playing pickup volleyball games with children. While language and cultural barriers have created obstacles, neither COVID-19 nor security have proven major issues so far.

As VanHerck said, they're "building eight small cities, [so] we're going to have challenges."

© Architectural Digest A young Afghan refugee in Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

Specialist Joseph Igo, who hands out Red Cross comfort kits, toys, and other items, says the families have been incredibly grateful for the support.

"When the kids come through and some of them are waving flags, they're always really happy," Igo told News 8000. "It makes everything that we're doing here just work and make sense."

Each base has an officer designated as "mayor" of the housing units, according to the AP, with an Afghan counterpart who can communicate about any ongoing issues.

"We're starting to call them neighborhoods," the State Department rep told the Tribune of the refugee housing. "They've built a community together, and they're processing what they went through together. Our response is to prepare them to move on and help them transition to the next chapter of their lives in America."

The biggest ask among the new arrivals, unsurprisingly, is better Wi-Fi. Officials say they working on it—and trying to find more linguists who can work as translators.

Fort McCoy, about 180 miles from Milwaukee, has the largest number of refugees. As of September 3, the remainder were being housed at Fort Bliss in Texas (6,200), McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey (3,700); Virginia's Fort Picket (3,650), Fort Lee (1,700), and the Marine base at Quantico (800); New Mexico's Holloman Air Force Base (650) and Indiana's Camp Atterbury (65).

At least 123,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan after the Biden administration ordered U.S. troops to withdraw last month. Some already had connections in the U.S., but others need more help adjusting.

VanHerck said the eight "cities" could house at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees. Exactly how long they'll be there is undetermined, but Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the government's commitment "is an enduring one."

"This is not just a matter of the next several weeks," Mayorkas told reporters. "We will not rest until we have accomplished the ultimate goal."

Team Rubicon, a nonprofit supporting Afghan arrival is requesting donations of gently used clothes, diapers, bottled water, and other goods.

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jrDiscussion - desc
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1  seeder  Just Jim NC TttH    one month ago

Good idea............but for how long I wonder............

Sophomore Principal
1.1  Hallux  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1    one month ago

Hopefully shorter than someone starts calling them internment camps.

Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Hallux @1.1    one month ago

I am sure there will be a few of those comments.

Split Personality
PhD Principal
2  Split Personality    one month ago

Many of those buildings dated back to 1942 and people constantly complained about maintaining them.

Masters Quiet
3  Ronin2    one month ago

Hopefully they get the vetting process done correctly. All for those that are supposed to be here; just really concerned that a lot of people at the airport at the start didn't have papers- and there was no chance to vet them then and there. They just put people onto the planes and took off. 

Later it was those that the Taliban wanted to get through their checkpoints to the airport did. Wonder how many were sleepers or Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL, or ISIS-K that the Taliban security waved past as a future poison pill. The Taliban leaders may talk nice and say what Biden wants to hear; but this is still a clan/tribal system- and there a factions within factions of the Taliban. Many probably still hate the US. I mean it wasn't like we weren't trying to kill each other until about a year and a half ago.

Sophomore Principal
3.1  Hallux  replied to  Ronin2 @3    one month ago
Hopefully they get the vetting process done correctly.

One can hope but if they are as human as Americans, 1/3(?) of them will garner a criminal record over time.


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