'Do our part': East Bay Afghan community mobilizing to help refugees adjust in Bay Area

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, August 30, 2021
Community mobilizing to help Afghan refugees adjust in Bay Area
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A relief mission is taking shape in the East Bay to help Afghan refugee families who are trying to come to the Bay Area.

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- A relief mission is taking shape in the East Bay to help Afghan refugee families who are trying to come to the Bay Area. Meantime a local nonprofit still working to get its employees out of Afghanistan.

A Sunday strategy session at Concord's Noor Islamic and Cultural Community Center on how to help refugees escaping Afghanistan. Nesar Abdiani says his phone is ringing 24/7 with desperate calls from friends and family.

"They're calling to say please help us, please get us out of this country and chaos, unfortunately our hands are tied," said Abdiani.

RELATED: 3 children killed in US airstrike on ISIS-K suicide bombers targeting Kabul airport: Officials

These volunteers can't help Afghans escape but they can assist families who are able to make it to the Concord area.

"We don't know how many people are coming, when they get here we want to be prepared," said Mena Akbar from Noor Islamic and Cultural Community Center.

They will need all the necessities to help traumatized families who may be starting from zero.

"First, we'd like to offer compassion, language assistance, homes, I'll even show them around and help them grocery shop," said Josay Attiga from Walnut Creek.

RELATED: Cousin of East Bay man who recently escaped Afghanistan killed in Kabul airport attack

The community center is collecting donations for refugees on its website. The city of Concord pledging its support.

"It's been challenging watching he trauma on TV but we can do our part to help people come here, that gives me hope," said Concord City Council member Carlyn Obringer.

If you'd like to help the relief effort, visit here.

Meantime, ABC7 News received an update Sunday from Bay Area nonprofit Roots of Peace, trying to evacuate its employees still in Afghanistan.

RELATED: Bay Area nonprofit founders growing desperate to rescue Afghan employees in Kabul

"We heard there was an ISIS threat, we were told to leave the premises," said Roots of Peace co-founder Heidi Kuhn.

Heidi and Gary Kuhn have been working around the clock from Istanbul, Turkey to get their 76 employees out of Kabul. Overnight, their bus was turned away from the airport after 10 hours, due to security threats.

Despite an August 31 U.S. troop withdrawal deadline, Heidi says she's not giving up.

"Let's roll, we have two more days to get the Afghans out, we are Americans and we will find a way," said Kuhn.

TAKE ACTION: How to help Afghanistan, Afghan community