By Neva Rae Fox
In a special Zoom presentation the day after the deadly bombing at the Kabul airport, Episcopal Church staff stressed the urgency of the humanitarian situation unfolding in Afghanistan and appealed for help, donations, and patience.
In the presentation, titled Neighbors Welcome: Episcopal Migration Ministry Responds to Afghanistan, Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) and the Office of Government Relations presented step-by-step suggestions for both immediate and long-term help.
“The images have been devastating, heartbreaking, hard to fathom,” Rebecca Blachly, director of government relations, said. “There are many factors we can’t change at this time, but there are things that we can do.”
“The situation is extremely fluid, as yesterday’s tragic event shows,” Cris Ramon, a consultant for the Office of Government Relations, said. “It changes day to day.”
“It has been tumultuous for a few weeks,” Allison Duvall, EMM’s senior manager for church relations and engagement, added. “This is not a normal resettlement. This is a humanitarian emergency.”
EMM and their partner organizations throughout the country have been addressing the desperate needs of the influx of Afghans as quickly as possible and are appealing for help from the church.
“We need our community,” Duvall said. “We need you. We need our congregations to help. This is an emergency situation.”
She added, “It’s the work of building community as they find a safe place to raise their children.”
The presenters touched on five key areas of need and support: housing, advocacy, volunteering, donations, and sponsorship.
Duvall said that short- and long-term housing is desperately needed: “dorms, private homes, vacant rectories, places to live.”
Sponsorship groups, Duvall continued, can consist of eight to more than 20. “It really depends on the local affiliate on what that sponsorship would look like.”
Housing and sponsorship possibilities can be shared here.
Duvall offered that, “This is an emergency. We need you with us. Needs will vary. Patience is the key. This is long-term welcoming work.”
Duvall noted that the Afghanistan emergency is “in addition to the ongoing work of EMM. That doesn’t mean that the emergency needs of other groups have gone away. Those needs remain.”
As for the future, Ramon stated, “This is not going to end immediately.”
“This is an unfolding situation,” Duvall said. “Please be patient.”
Kendall Martin, EMM Senior Communications Manager, said it is important to keep the plight of Afghanistan in the forefront. “We need to stay connected, even when the media moves on,” she said.
Martin offered ways to help, resources and links:
Episcopal Migration Ministries https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/
Support Our Afghan Allies https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/donate-afghan-allies/
Information for Afghans in Need of Evacuation https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/resources-afghan-allies/
Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/office-government-relations
EMM Partner Map https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/our-partners/
Refugee Council USA https://rcusa.org/afghanistan/
Social Media: @EMMRefugees, @TheEPPN