Operation Allies Refuge: More than 2,300 evacuees from Afghanistan have gone through PHL

Thousands of Afghan evacuees have made their way to the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) over the last several days as the United States worked to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan and end the nation’s longest war. 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Monday that 2,386 evacuees have arrived at PHL Saturday through Monday. Several more flights are expected to arrive Tuesday. 

Kenney says upon deplaning, evacuees go through customs and are then provided with services from at least 35 city, state, and federal agencies, as well as local hospitals, and non-profit partners.

The services provided include culturally appropriate food, basic essentials, medical evaluations, and physical and mental health support services, according to Kenney. COVID-19 testing is also part of the process, and evacuees are presented with an opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The city also offered on-site interpretation in a variety of languages, including Dari Pashto, Urdu, and Farsi. 

FOX 29’s Steve Keeley was outside of a packed terminal Tuesday morning where evacuees awaited transport off the airport grounds to places like Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. 


Tuesday morning, a group of evacuees awaiting transport in the terminal could be seen changing into newly donated clothing and drinking out of Wawa cups. 

Keeley described the demeanor inside the terminal as ‘relaxed,’ and said many people could be seen smiling "as Philadelphia lived up to that ‘Brotherly Love’ motto."

Tuesday, seven more flights are expected to come through the Philadelphia International Airport, according to Mayor Kenney. He added that the support of evacuees arriving at PHL could go on for several weeks.

"These folks are phenomenally strong, brave, and patient. It’s just interesting and uplifting to see little kids coming down the escalator to hit the Red Cross and get a teddy bear, some snacks some water, and a half-hour later they’re running around playing tag with each other and just being kids," Kenney explained. 

For more on how you can help Afghan evacuees arriving in Philadelphia, you can visit the city’s website



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