More than 500 Afghan evacuees expected to start arriving in Omaha

Around 500 Afghan evacuees are expected to land in Omaha with several agencies teaming up to help.
Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 9:28 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - More than 500 Afghan evacuees are expected to land in Omaha, and local agencies are gearing up to get them off on the right foot.

“There’s going to be a huge wave of people coming into Omaha here in the near future,” said Hannah Wyble, founder and executive director of Restoring Dignity.

In addition to the Afghan arrivals, there are roughly 800 refugees arriving with traditional refugee status.

That’s the number of refugees who are going to be coming from the Congo, and Burma and all different countries from across the world,” said Wyble, noting they’re bracing for numbers they haven’t seen in years.

President Biden has boosted the annual cap on refugees to more than 62,000 — a big jump from the Trump administration’s 15,000 cap.

“We’ve done this. We do it well. We know what to do,” Wyble said. “We just need the community to step up and start dropping off items.”

Restoring Dignity is teaming up with the Refugee Empowerment Center and the Furniture Project.

“We’re going to put a shipping container in our parking lot just to start storing the items that families are going to need,” Wyble said.

“We’re going to need couches, we’re going to need beds; hopefully we get to work with furniture companies so we can supply new mattresses,” said Mitch Strong, with the Refugee Empowerment Center.

They don’t have the exact timeline for the arrivals, but they do know it’s going to start happening quickly.

“They’re coming in so fast that I hope we can absorb all of that and I know we will,” said Strong.

And they’re asking for donations that are in excellent condition, preferably new.

“We’re really trying to get people as much new stuff as possible, but we’ll take very gently used items,” Wyble said. “We really want to provide people with a dignified experience when they come to Omaha.”

Restoring Dignity asks donors to use its signup sheet.

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