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As the need continues, local organizations step in to help Afghan refugees

Posted at 7:21 AM, Aug 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-28 10:21:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As Afghans continue to seek safety in the United States, San Diego organizations are here to heed the call.

"The concerns are great and obviously the needs of people who are trying to flee life-threatening harm are significant and continue to increase," shared Donna Duvin, the Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee San Diego Chapter.

Duvin explained since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the San Diego branch has been able to assist 33 Afghan refugees, "And it doesn't sound like a huge number but for every client for every case that comes in, the thing that is different," expressed Duvin, "Oftentimes in this circumstance we only have 24 to 48 hours of notice."

Duvin furthered that they are expecting an influx of refugees. She also stated that IRC staff will be returning home, after having been deployed to processing centers. She said their fears not only lie in the safety of the refugees seeking refuge but her staff that is helping as many as they can.

"It's a very traumatic time for many people in our community," said an emotional Duvin, "not just for those fleeing and arriving but for people who are already here or those providing services, have loved ones still in harm's way and it's been very tough."

Yet the IRC still vows to plan ahead. Their focus is on resettlement and housing for the refugees that can show up at any moment. Their branch accepts any Special Visa Immigrants, many of whom have worked with the US military. They also assist P-2 refugees who are those who have worked with the Federal Government and NGOs. In crisis circumstances, like the one in Afghanistan, they can also assist refugees who are seeking asylum as they fear for their safety.

Another San Diego organization, Hope for San Diego, is responsible for providing necessities and household items to refugees.

"You know they are exhausted and have been through so much," shares Executive Director Suzie Fiske. "So just to make a comfortable space for them feel really good."

With no clear timeline on when a refugee will land in San Diego, these organizations said they are waiting and ready to help.

Duvin recalled an experience she shared when witnessing Afghan refugees arrive on US soil, "You know they are able to stand firmly on San Diego soil and know that they are really truly home," she furthered, "and you see them take a deep lingering breath and just begin to relax a little bit and know that they are out of harm's way."

Fiske shared that the assistance they and other organizations are providing will continue to be in demand for years. She expressed that any little bit now, whether it be financial or material items, makes an impact.

To find out how you can help Hope for San Diego visit:

To find out how you can help IRC San Diego visit: