First refugees from Afghanistan arrive in Massachusetts

September 28, 2021 GMT

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts’ first refugees from Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover of the country have arrived.

A family of three that includes a husband, wife and young child landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Friday, according to state officials and local refugee resettlement groups. A family of five, including a couple and their three children, arrived Sunday.

The families are staying in a Boston-area hotel for now but will be settled in the Worcester-area along with hundreds of others from Afghanistan, officials said.

The state office of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that Massachusetts expects to receive about 1,100 evacuees and that nonprofit resettlement agencies will be the primary entities supporting them.

Some 37,000 Afghans are expected to arrive in the country as part of the first wave of evacuees.

“Massachusetts is pleased to welcome the first Afghan evacuees to the Commonwealth, and looks forward to working with the federal government and local nonprofits who serve these populations as additional evacuees arrive in the coming weeks and months,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a written statement.

Rhode Island’s first dozen Afghan evacuees arrived earlier this month. State officials are preparing for as many as 250 to arrive by early November.