Nearly 700 evacuees from Afghanistan could soon be calling Iowa home

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In this image provided by the Department of Defense, two paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conduct security while a C-130 Hercules takes off during a evacuation operation in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (Department of Defense via AP)

Iowa is expected to receive 695 Afghan evacuees from the first group of arrivals to be resettled in the United States.

The Biden administration on Wednesday began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many of the nearly 37,000 arrivals from that first wave are slated to be resettled in their states.

“They will be going to the major populated areas of the state where there are resources and jobs and support systems for them,” said Alex Carfrae, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Those would include places such as the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids metro areas, he said.

The Iowa Department of Human Services said in a statement that it is working closely with several agencies to coordinate the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Iowa.A

“Our state has a long history of welcoming refugees from all over the world, and the Department’s Bureau of Refugee Services is eager to help coordinate the arrival of the newest Iowans. Our resettlement partners have the capacity to settle approximately 350 people in the short term,” according to the statement.

The agency said it is working to prepare for the new arrivals, including coordinating with the business community and employers as well as with faith-based and community service organizations.

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