800 Afghan refugees expected in Tulsa in coming weeks

Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma is gearing up, and looking for help to ease the transition

UK coalition forces, Turkish coalition forces, and U.S. Marines assist a child during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2021.

TULSA — Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma has received word that as many as eight hundred refugees from Afghanistan will likely arrive in Tulsa in the coming weeks.

CCEOK, which has helped resettle refugees since the Vietnam era, generally handles fewer than four hundred people a year, according to spokesman Deacon Kevin Sartorius.

He told KRMG Tuesday that what they don’t have at this point is a clearly-defined timeline on when to expect the Afghan families to arrive.

“We went from believing that we would have Afghan people come over the next, say, three months, six months, or maybe two years, now I think we’re looking at maybe three days, six days, or two months,” he said. “And when you squish that timeline, it kind of puts us into disaster mode.”

He said early on, they’ll be housed in area hotels or motels, while more permanent lodging solutions are identified.

He admits that will be quite a challenge - there aren’t a lot of rentals available in the area.

CCEOK can use help, identifying properties up for lease, as well as gathering all the necessities to set up the families, including clothing, bedding, toys - everything one could imagine.

The link for those who’d like to help is CCEOK.org/refugees.


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